Braille On The Bus

I jumped on a bus recently in the pissing rain and I was in a foul mood.  Why wouldn’t I be?  I was soaking wet.

I was like a rabid dog.


But, you know, I calmed down after a while, and even stopped abusing the other passengers when the driver threatened to call the police.  How calming a threat can be. 

What the hell, you can’t hold a grudge all your life.

Eh, wait, hold on.  That’s not true.  You can hold a grudge all your life and much of mankind does so.  In fact, that’s why the world is beset by conflict, war, and general badness.  Yes, you can certainly hold a grudge all your life and you can even pass it on to future generations.

I was wrong and I’m sorry for saying anything so crass, but that wasn’t what I wanted to tell you anyway, so maybe we’ll just pass quickly on.

What I really wanted to mention was the STOP buttons on the bus. The things you press to tell the driver you want to get off at the next stop.  Ding!!  Those things.  Ding!!!

Now look.  Don’t get me wrong.  This makes little difference to me, and you might well believe that I’m being more than nitpicking when I bring it up, but still, bear with me for a second.

The STOP buttons have little Braille marks on them, and in the normal run of events I could understand that.  I can see how helpful it would be to know the difference between one button and another.  I can understand how useful it would be for a blind pilot to know which button is for Wings Stay On and which one is for Wings Fall Off.  That I can figure out.

Or for instance, if a blind controller in NASA was in charge of the Space Shuttle, I can see how valuable it would be to tell which button controlled Jesus, Please Don’t Let It Blow Up Again, as opposed to the one marked Bang!!

But look, this is just a bus and we’re just passengers.  There aren’t many buttons for the use of passengers on a bus.  In fact, there’s only one.  Stop.

So who decided that this button should be in Braille?  Did this designer have some confusion, and fail to realise that a bus isn’t studded with dozens of buttons?  Did this designer fear, perhaps, that a blind passenger might somehow mistake the STOP for the EXPLODE button, or the Turn-Around-And–Take-Me-Straight-Back-Home button, or the Shit-I-Forgot-My-Fuckin-Wallet button?  Or maybe even the Fire-All-Machine-Guns button. 

This is unlikely, since there’s only one button for passengers in a bus.  It’s the STOP button, and even the most stupid blind passenger is unlikely to mix it up with anything else, especially when there isn’t anything else to mix it up with.

So why the Braille?

I know.  You’re thinking I’m being too hard on them.  You’re thinking, why get so worked up about something so trivial?  And you’re right.

It’s ridiculous what stupid things I worry myself about.

24 thoughts on “Braille On The Bus

  1. Oh Bock, you crack me up with the things in life that bother you. Just breathe and quit worrying about those damn buttons. Have you ever thought of yoga so you can learn to relax at the end of your stressful day? You know, get the Guinness to your mouth position, as opposed to down low dog position. I am concerned for your blood pressure, now go consume some of your left over curry. And enjoy!

  2. One thing that bothers me about braille is that people seem to thing that it’s required in order to be PC. But once it is provided, that’s the end of their responsibilities.

    For example, The Square shopping centre in Tallaght, when it was built, had a wonderful relief model of the building with braille markings on it describing where everything was. A few years later, millions were spent to built huge extensions on the building and to move parts of it around. But the model wasn’t updated at all.

    Derren Brown, in his book Tricks Of The Mind, described an aquarium he visited, where each display window had the name of the inhabitant written below it in visible type and in braille – of course, what blind person is going to go visit an aquarium? I mean, it’s not like they’re there to see the fishes.

  3. dont worry about it just had an off day and we are all entitled to have those days and we do. anyway its so long since I have been on a bus that I wasnt aware of this. so I suppose I have learnt something new. I know blind people and they can get around as god as myself if not better. cant see the pointt off this second button.

  4. What if they were subsequently to add a “cancel” button. In the absence of braille already on “stop” button they would have to buy a whole new set of these and you’d be giving out about that.

    Loosen up.

  5. In Glesga the night buses are well known for stopping between authorised stops without you having to ring the bell. Its not unusual for the drivers to stop for a late fish supper and queue for 10 or 15 minutes. Just don’t ask to try one of his chips!

  6. fuck that. screw PC.

    if it’s obvious what something does, then there is no need to label it, either visual or tactile.

    if someone doesn’t know what the big button on the pole does, then they shouldn’t go near it.

  7. what about the braille buttons on ATMs? whilst having the digit buttons in braille makes sense, it all seems a bit pointless when most of the transaction involves reading a list of options from a screen.

  8. If they’re blind how do they find the button in the first place? Does a fellow passenger lead them to it and let them read the braille for themselves? Does the dog lead them?
    It really is a mystery – a bit like the resurrection!!

  9. In Toronto, they have Braille on the lift buttons in multi-storey car-parks. And, considering the way Torontonians drive, it makes sense somehow.

  10. Lord lantern mother fucking jesus, BOCK you take the biscuit. That is one hell of a post and on top of it; the comments are superb!

  11. As the blind man said to the deaf dog, as he picked up his hammer and saw.

    As the blind cowboy who rode his horse on a 7 day wagon train ride with me last summer, said after he used the outhouse, “We need more lights in there, I can’t see shit!”. Oh and the cowboy’s horse did not have a Braille stop button on it.

    Blind in one eye and cannot see out of the other.

  12. I am a nurse in the US and we do not have Braille signs behind our nursing station. Perhaps we do not see or feel a great need for them.

  13. ha, sensibility.

    I currently live in the touchy feeling state of Kalifornia where senses don’t always rule; and, where the saying goes, ‘if it feels good, do it!’ ;)

  14. There are braille markings on the various viewing points at the top of the Empire State Building, to point out to you that what you are “looking” at is (e.g.) the Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Centre, etc.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.