What on earth is going on at the Owens Park bus stop? An investigation

Rishi won’t be PM by the time you get to the front


No-one knows why the queue at the Owens Park bus stop is so long, or who is responsible for it.

Is it Manchester uni, inadequately prepared for the return of in person learning this year? Possibly. Is it Stagecoach, swindling money out of the ‘woke-generation’ as they adorn the sides of their buses with GB news propaganda? It wouldn’t surprise me. Is it the freshers, eager to make the most of the learning opportunity they’ve been given? Probably not.

Two bus wardens have been fending off angry students and organising the morning rush for weeks now but, clearly, this isn’t cutting it.

There has been many a morning when I’ve waited for 25 minutes in a line that stretches halfway to Platt Fields for Holly and Phil to arrive and waltz straight onto the 142. They prepare media responses as they purposely avoid eye contact with us eye-twitching plebs as we foam at the mouth – wait, what queue? I didn’t see a queue!

The first rule of England is, obviously, respecting the queue. If you don’t like it you should just- Oh god, oh no! What is happening to me! I’m being radicalised. It must be something to do with the ginormous Nigel Farage staring down at me from the side of the magic bus.

Through a series of photos, and sternly worded emails to Stagecoach, I will attempt to make sense of this conundrum that is preventing our future leaders and their True Religion jeans from making it to their 9am lectures on time.

Possible cause 1: Studious students

It’s still early in the year. Everyone has committed themselves to be better and you’ve got a card from your Mum on your shelf telling you how proud she is of you. Seasonal depression and hungover lie-ins haven’t (yet) taken priority over making it to class.

People are feeling good, and so they should be. The problem with people feeling good is that sometimes it is just such a goddamned inconvenience.

Ella, 20

I moved into a house behind NZ wines, forgetting I’d be using the same bus stop as the Owens Park freshers. This morning I queued for 20 minutes and then when I got to the front a girl pushed in front of me. She was laughing to her friend about skipping her intro lecture on ethics. Once she got on the bus she fell up the stairs.

Wonder what Nietzsche would say about that.

Seth, 19

It’s a nightmare. I’ve missed two 10ams this week but maybe that’s my fault for leaving the flat at 9:50.

What this suggests:

Freshers are a contributory part of the problem, struggling to understand the epic highs and lows of university codes of conduct. However, unless a 19 year old from Surrey is the chancellor for transport, which I can’t be certain about but highly doubt, it’s not the freshers’ fault the queue is so long. I endeavoured to look elsewhere for answers.

Possible cause 2: Big fat cohort of 2022

This year has seen accommodations in Manchester heavily oversubscribed to, leaving unwitting students forced to find accoms in Liverpool, sign onto houses, or else defer a year.

My theory is, if the accommodations were so heavily oversubscribed, the UoM cohort this year must be larger than in years past.

A quick Freedom of Information request later and the stats are in:

2021 intake: 10,200

2022 intake: 9200

Ok. Fewer freshers have joined UoM this year compared to last year but fret not, there is an explanation to this insane plot twist.

UoM has told the Manchester Tab that a number of students took up the option of studying remotely last year, with more returning to in-person learning this year.

You’d think that with more students travelling into uni, more buses would be scheduled at peak pre-lecture times. You’d be perfectly justified in thinking such a thing. You would, however, be wrong.

Possible cause 3: Lack of buses

Stagecoach told the Manchester Tab that before the pandemic they had managed student rush hours by running additional buses on top of those timetabled but, in a post-COVID world, they are struggling with staffing shortages.

Their recommendation for now is to make it to the bus stop early during peak times but they’ve reassured us that by next month they should be operating more buses in the area.

In the meantime let’s say, for instance, you have paid £300 for the bus pass. The bus is full. You’re late. You haven’t exercised in perhaps three years since you last played rounders in PE and therefore lack the stamina to cycle a lovely yellow bee-bike into uni. You have a chronic illness (mild asthma) and lord knows you cannot afford an Uber – how in the hell are you supposed to get to uni then?

Simple answer, you’re not. “Educating the masses is a fast track path to socialism!!!” *Piers Morgan shouts at you as he peels off a stick on moustache and Stagecoach fleece*

Really, though, the issue with blaming the bus company is that they were in control last year (also post-covid) when this queuing problem didn’t exist.

Or maybe it did. Maybe we just pretend it didn’t so we can separate ourselves from the silly little freshers of this year, forgetting we were once in their place.

Thoroughly thought out conclusion

I don’t know why the Owens Park bus stop has become the way that it is or when it will ever change. Do you know? Does Stagecoach know? Does the uni know? Who knows. There is no-one to answer for it now and, even if there were, the bus still hasn’t arrived while you’ve been reading this.

I could suggest that you get on a bus in the other direction until you reach Withington, change sides of the road and travel to uni from there, seat with leg space secured. I COULD suggest that but I probably wouldn’t for my own safety. I have personally been mobbed before by Withington students who thought they’d hacked the system living a few stops down.

All because I was caught scooting past Owens Park bus stop, shouting similar tactical information to innocent freshers who, in my opinion, have the same rights as the rest of us.

There is no easy solution to the Owens Park bus dilemma, but restoring your inner peace and not blaming everything that goes wrong in your life on those around you is probably a good start.

Case closed.

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