By Naz Iskandar
The Croft Magazine // Naz Iskandar makes a case for buses as a superior form of transport.
Be honest: when was the last time you were truly happy to get on a bus or coach? Megabus, National Express and Flixbus might be household names - but they are also pretty much certain to tease a grimace on the face of many experienced backpackers.
Whether you’re crossing Bristol or Europe, buses are hardly the nicest form of travel. Legroom that makes Ryanair seem like business class, USB charging ports stuffed with chewing gum, eternally broken onboard toilets - not to mention the dreaded carsickness - are all part of the coach travel experience. And for those of us who’ve been on a Flixbus in Europe, there’s the added complication of being woken up every time you cross the border (on an 8 hour night bus journey…!) so your documents can be checked!
Or maybe you’ve had a bus driver have a go at you? Personally, I’m still a bit terrified of German bus drivers, as I was once scolded by one for a full minute in rapid-fire German for giving him the wrong fare while the bus-stop queue grew… I swear this is a true story.
But when it comes down to it, I think we don’t give the Humble Bus enough credit. It doesn’t get you there in style, quite the opposite in fact – you get dumped out on the outskirts of Berlin with 1 hour of sleep, crumpled clothes and all, and desperately searching for a loo (see: broken onboard toilets). But in the end, it gets us to where we want to get to : I think we love to hate buses.
The humble bus got me around Europe for slightly less than two fancy brunches, and I will forever cherish the memories I made on that trip. Buses allow us to travel ridiculous distances for incredibly cheap, and I am grateful that such an affordable option for transport exists. It’s not stylish, but in the end you get from A to B, and that’s what matters isn’t it? Quite frankly, most of us students simply can’t afford to fly or interrail around Europe - so we would be stuffed if Flixbus isn’t a thing.
Bus travel isn’t the best, but it gets you where you want to go for the lowest possible price, and it’s definitely something that we don’t appreciate enough. I will be sure to tell myself this the next time I hop on a cramped Flixbus from Copenhagen to Hamburg.