My ChauffeursIt is an endearing characteristic of the city of Perth, Western Australia, where I live, that most passengers on public transport buses call “Thank You” to the drivers as they exit.
People of all ages and all ethnic and social backgrounds do it, in a genuine ex
On one journey into the city centre this week I heard it from elderly Italian, Greek and Yugoslav ladies, clutching empty shopping bags, setting off in search of bargains.
I heard it from groups of South East Asian students as they alighted near the English language college, and somehow it seemed that they cherished the opportunity to practice in public.
I heard it from a svelte young Persian woman, scarved in sheer, chic shades of peacock purple and green, when the bus stopped outside the business school.
And I heard it from a large group of high school kids from many backgrounds, the beep of the electronic ticket-tagger alternating with their tuneful calls.
The only passenger demographic I did not hear call “Thank You” to the driver was the middle-aged white males; they were obviously too stressed or too embarrassed to speak aloud. Or perhaps they just didn’t care? Perhaps they didn’t notice the quality of the public transport system?
While I sat on a soft, plush fabric seat and read my book, the driver took me home. I could zone out, ignore the peak-hour traffic stress, as she piloted the well-sprung bus smoothly onward.
“Thank You!” this middle-aged white male called, as I exited.