Every few days you can pick up a copy of The West and read about how much taxi drivers hate Uber. If you’d picked up the paper a century ago, they were grumpy about these damned novel buses that were taking their business.
On St George’s Terrace in the first few years of the 20th century, one motor bus was brave enough to try and take people to Ascot Racecourse. There was almost a riot.
Angry cab drivers surrounded the bus and shouted threats and curses. Anybody who attempted to board was vigorously abused. Nevertheless, the bus managed to gather enough brave passengers to make a successful trip to the races and back.
And customs on buses were different in those days.
On the Belmont route, when the bus was overcrowded, it was expected that a lady would stand and let a gentleman have her seat.
Then she would then sit on his knee. Seriously.
Dodgy Perth believes that TransPerth should bring back this etiquette today.
Bus drivers could be a little, let’s say, less professional from time to time a century ago.
One driver, who was a little ‘under the influence,’ had an argument with a passenger as to whether he had paid the correct fare.
To settle the argument the pair left the bus at Barrack Street, and the fight was only interrupted by a policeman, who arrested them both.
When this news reached the waiting passengers, they went straight to the police station to demand the driver’s release.
When the sergeant in charge pointed out that the bus company employee was obviously drunk, one lady passenger explained: “Oh, he is all right. I’ve sat beside him before when he was like this, and I always pull the bus back if it goes off the road.”
Satisfied that the bus was in good hands, the sergeant released him.
Ah, public transport. How disappointingly boring you are today.