Pure Fiction

I have a late entry for this year’s Man Booker Prize for Fiction, and it is the Lothian Buses Journey Planner online.  In addition to working on two shows on the Fringe, I am also a reviewer for Broadway Baby, an online review and listings magazine which has set itself the formidable task of covering all 2,600 shows on the Fringe.

And so I get sent to all sorts of places round Edinburgh in areas I’ve never visited, some of them far flung.  I fell on the Journey Planner as the exact tool I needed.  It is easy to use and quick.   St James Centre to Henderson Row?  Three minute walk,  No 8 bus at 17.10, 10 minute walk at the other end, total journey time about 25 minutes.  Excellent, and well in time.

It is all untrue.  A 45 minute wait for the said No.8, and then it stops dead half way along the route.  Many Edinburgh buses behave like prick-teasing virgins.  They promise to transport you, and then refuse to go all the way. 

I wouldn’t grouch so much, except I’ve arrived late for three shows now, and missed one altogether.  If you go in late to a stand-up’s show, the comic will of course pick on you, which is embarrassing.  But I’ve found the way to shut them up.  I just say, slowly and dolefully, ‘Lothian Buses’ and the audience shake their heads in sympathy, rather as if I’d said, ‘Funeral’.

I’m sure Lothian Buses can come up with a million excuses.  The Festival?  Well, didn’t they know about it?  Didn’t anybody tell them it was coming?   Roadworks?  The Tram?  Well, who’s responsible for that then?   For all I know they might blame it on the wrong kind of haggis in the drivers’ sandwiches.  I don’t care.  It’s their responsibility to maintain services.  Haven’t they heard of planning?  Has nobody told them websites can be updated on an hourly basis or less?

If any Mayor of London was responsible for running such a shoddy service, I wouldn’t fancy their chances of re-election.  Why do you put up with it?

Peter Scott-Presland

Peter Scott-Presland is the author and performer ofLocked In’ (Venue 53 till Aug 25th at 12.50) and the author/director of ‘Strip Search’ (Venue 54 until Aug 25th at 23.05)



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