June 11, 2014

Horse 1691 - How To Stop People Complaining About Buses That Are "Not In Service" Through The Simple Use Of Applied Psychology

Picture the scene:
It is a little bit beyond five o'clock and the commuters at the bus stop that I was stood standing at (as opposed to sat sitting) are rippling with disapproval that yet another bus has whizzed past at 60 clicks and bearing the message "Not In Service" across its destination board.
Now I'm perfectly aware that complaining about stuff is sort of a national sport along with whinging and tutting to make an Olympic style triathlon, and so I was pondering as is my wont, if it might be possible to employ a little psychology to dissuade the disapproval being shown.

The complaints which are shown as a result of buses whizzing past, stem from the perception that a service is not being provided or more specifically that it is not being provided to "me" and not being provided "right now".
We all tend to have an egocentric sort of view of the world when it comes to these sort of things; despite the fact that a public bus company's job is to provide a bus service and when a bus whizzes past, they are in fact providing that service but just not to "me" and just not "right now". Very few people in the world drive around in buses specifically for fun.
This got me thinking that if people were more aware of the fact that the bus in question is being provided for someone else, then they might not be so whingey about it.

If the bus had the next route number and the target destination across its destination board en route to the beginning of its next run, then would people show as much disdain?

I'm not entirely sure of this but maybe there would be a difference in projected attitude if people were aware that the bus was for "someone else" as opposed to a generic "Not In Service" message.
I already note that people don't tend to complain as loudly when an eXpress, Express or Limited route bus whizzes past and the reason that I suspect that this is the case is because people visibly see that those buses are "In Service", even though I personally find it bizarre that this message even exists.
The way I see it, a bus is always "In Service" except when it's at the depot because either its en route to the beginning of a run or else, its on its way home again; maybe if people were made more mindful of this, they might not be so quick to complain.

Then again, maybe they would. People like to complain about stuff; why stop now? Not when there's an Olympic style triathlon to be won.

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