manchester’s magic bus

I was on Facebook last night looking at a group called “I survived the 192” – or something. A meeting point for 4000 strong; set up for anyone who ever took the 192 from Manchester Piccadilly to….well, to where ever it is the 192 ends up. (Hazel Grove?)

The 192 is a Magic Bus. A huge two-story blue contraption that always smells like hash and vomit. I only climbed aboard once but I took the 142 (Magic Bus too) enough to know the sort. Rode them through the week in my student days. Back then I didn’t mind the stink because I saw everything as ‘part of the experience’. Even if I was sick to retching by the time I got home every evening (I don’t do doob).

But the thing I remember most about the Magic Bus wasn’t the hash or the late night kebabs (bit of a staple on those things) or the grubby groups of boys who chose random victims to clobber over the head. It was this: That they ran over people. People in cars of course. Still.

You’d be in the middle of rush hour, trying to get down Wilmslow and onto Oxford (especially onto Oxford) and if you were on a Magic Bus it would just start playing bumper cars. Like it was tired of waiting. Like it had some kind of right to push everyone else around and out of the way so it could make it’s way through. I once saw a man get his fender caved in and he didn’t say a word. Know why? Cause most of the drivers were like their buses. They were big and blue (tattoos) and smelled like dope. People were afraid of them.

They were the bullys, those buses. The hooligans. The all things chavvy of the Manchester transit system. I wouldn’t ride one if you paid me. But you know what? I still get nostalgic. Every time I see one.

Go big blue.

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