Monday, March 15, 2010


Most people who ride the bus know that you have to pull the cord to ask the bus driver to stop at the next stop (because if they didn't know that, they'd never be able to get off the bus). What some people don't know is that there's an art to pulling the cord. Of course, if you pull the cord too late, the bus driver has to slam on the brakes. That makes for a grumpy bus driver, and then you are responsible for increasing the misery index of the world. But what about people who pull the cord too early?

The danger of pulling the cord too early is that the bus driver will forget that the "Next Stop" noise went off a while ago. Then you have to shout "Stop!" which makes the bus driver cranky. Or, if you pull the cord immediately after the preceding stop, sometimes the bus driver will pull back off the road because he or she thinks that you actually wanted the stop before but weren't perspicacious enough to notice that it was coming. That makes for a grumpy bus driver too, but when you then have to awkwardly shout "Oops! I actually want the next one!", you get a REALLY grumpy bus driver, as well as bad vibes from everybody else on the bus. Naturally I've never ever done that, but when I have, I've apologized profusely.

The best time to pull the cord is about a block away from the stop, or, if the stops are only a block apart, halfway down the block. This gives the bus driver time to stop healthily, but not enough time to forget. Past equivocation aside, I take pride in knowing exactly when to pull the cord, and I must confess feeling a small twinge of annoyance when someone pulls the cord at my stop before I'm ready to.


  1. Dear Busninja,
    After reading your latest fascinating comment on the intricate world of pulling the bus cord, I feel like I have new insight into your strange and usually interesting mind. I would like to say that anyone who not only has the time but also energy, to think about such complex social issues, well, needs a hobby and/or a girlfriend. ;-)
    your friend who is a girl and has hobbies.

    P.S. Because I am now enlightened about the technical details of bus cord pulling I am relieved that I will never have to spend hours contemplating it.

  2. I agree. I used to ride the bus for years. Ignorant cord pullers bug me too.

  3. You used the word 'perspicacious'. As if you could get any awesomer!

  4. Erica:
    After reading this, all I can say is . . . when am I coming over to watch "Hitchhiker's"?
    your friend who is a boy and has a perfectly good bus hobby.

  5. ugh i hate premature bus cord pulling. The 3 worst:

    This is why I HATE having to share bus stops because people are too idiotic to know when the right is to pull the cord.