Tears, vomit and debauchery: A drive-along with the SU Safety Bus

Welcome to The Meat Wagon


The safety bus runs almost every Wednesday and Saturday by student volunteers and police officers. It drives around town and Cathays picking up the drunkest, most loose cannons, and then dropping them home – if they know where home is.

It kicks off at 9.30pm, and with a brand spanking new bus it seemed almost cruel to give it up to the mess of Cardiff. While everyone was pre-drinking, we took a trip to Roath Police Station where we had a cuppa and stories of previous bus experiences were shared.

safety bus 4

Cuff me

I heard tales of one man who was found waiting by his unwell girlfriend in a random garden, only to conclude that his said ‘girlfriend’ was in fact a bin bag that he had been sitting by all night (no wonder she was a rubbish girlfriend, pal), to another girl who decided to Triple Crown all over the bus and then demand she deserved an award Oscar type award for her achievements.

The Safety Bus really has seen it all, literally.

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Just chilling, waiting to be thrown up on

A standard night on the bus means calls from the SU every so often, when students are all Fluxed out or when they decide to take the YOLO part a little too seriously.

The few that we picked up looked as though Y Plas has swallowed them up and spat them back out. The first girl was carried down the stairs by her mates while she gagged into one of their hands. A lot of crying and apologising proceeded, in between chundering and confessing her love to the volunteers on the bus. Having to deal with word vomit and actual vomit made these volunteers look like saints. Not to mention carrying the girl back to halls, taking off her shoes and tucking her up in bed like some adopted university mothers.

safety bus 2

I’m not drunk I swear

The bus also stops at the ATC unit in town, where any drunk, unconscious human beings (I use this term loosely) are taken, usually by ambulance and then dropped back home by the bus.

This unit is as depressing as it is helpful. The staff are wonderful and it means drunks are not taking up A&E time in hospitals, but what it ends up being is just a long line of unresponsive bodies. One girl didn’t even manage to make it past pre-drinks, and the ambulance was called because her friend panicked while she became unconscious.

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Squad pic

The safety bus is not well known among students and I don’t know why. It is a brilliant infrastructure in place to make sure people like you and I are getting home safe after our wild nights out. But it wouldn’t work without the patience of the policemen, who are bombarded with drunks who assume their problems are big enough to get the police involved. No Sarah, the police officer can’t bring back your dead hamster, and no John, he doesn’t know where your other sock is and he isn’t going to file a missing person report.

Secondly praise should be given to the volunteers, who I’m sure would rather be spending their Saturday night as one of the passengers in the bus and not the ones holding the hair back. We picked up eight students that night and that was one of the quietest Saturday’s they had seen, with half of them being girls sobbing into their sick bucket. The volunteers shift ends at around 4 am, once the last dregs of hardcore Flux attendees had crawled out away from the bright lights of the SU. And of course, there is always one person needing to be rescued after falling asleep in the loos. After all, Flux is a tad soporific.

safety bus

The band of shame

So when you are out remember that the bus is out there too, picking up the bits of meat that make this city great.

Drink responsibly, kids x

If you are interested in becoming a student volunteer please email [email protected] #DrinkLessEnjoyMore