I have a friend at work who I often get the bus with. When he gets off the bus at our stop, he never says a word to the driver.

I think this would be considered rude (we're British) and I'm actually embarrassed when he doesn't recognise somebody providing a service.

I'd like to approach my friend about this but I'm not sure what the best way to go about it is?

Note: He literally just walks off the bus without saying a thing.

  • 49
    Doesn't sound rude to me, saying nothing to strangers is rarely rude. Aren't there usually back doors on buses for exiting, do you really always holler through the crowd "goodbye" to the driver up front when you get off? There can't be only one door, especially with double-decker buses I can't imagine that everyone has to get on & off at the single front door.
    – Xen2050
    Aug 21, 2017 at 14:08
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    There's only one door. An we don't "holler" in Britain ;-)
    – amarsha4
    Aug 21, 2017 at 14:17
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    It probably is but remember that we Brits have "orderly queueing" as some sort of animal instinct.
    – amarsha4
    Aug 21, 2017 at 14:28
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    @nodws It shouldn't go as far as telling his parents, this isn't considered rude in UK culture and escalating the situation without any knowledge of whether he is rude to any other service staff is bad advice. Aug 21, 2017 at 15:41
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    @anongoodnurse in my experience, they tend to say "Thank you" back. They quite literally thank you for thanking them. (However I'm not in a big city, nor do I use buses during rush hour). Aug 21, 2017 at 16:03

5 Answers 5


As a UK native, to me, it can be considered impolite to not say thank you to the bus driver, but I wouldn't consider it rude. Your friend might not be doing it on purpose. Being rude to the bus driver would be purposely saying rude things to him, rather than just walking off the bus. There is no expectation to say thank you on the bus driver's part.

You can only set an example by doing so yourself rather than explicitly calling him out on it. It'd be a different story if it was hospitality staff, who were providing a service to you individually rather than a group of the general public.

  • 8
    100% this. I'm one of the people who tries to always say thanks on the bus (even yelling "Thanks!" when I use the back doors); but I don't find it rude when people don't do this. It's all personal preference to how polite you want to be; at least in Canada.
    – JMac
    Aug 21, 2017 at 18:03
  • @JMac likewise in the UK, too. Aug 21, 2017 at 18:20
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    I think it may also be a regional thing (or me not noticing). Growing up in London, I don't remember / wasn't aware of people thanking the driver, so when I went to university (in Hull) I was at first surprised when almost everyone did (and I now do).
    – TripeHound
    Aug 21, 2017 at 20:22
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    @skymningen You've missed the joys of obligatory politeness in British culture, a true phenomenon. David Attenborough would be proud to narrate such a thing. Aug 22, 2017 at 7:49
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    @skymningen Seriously, it exists. (more so in small towns than larger cities) but I assure you, it exists. Aug 22, 2017 at 7:54

Speak by example. Get on and off immediately before your friend, and be very polite to the driver (e.g. saying something like "are you alright?" and "have a good day", respectively). Your friend will very likely become curious about your attitude and might ask you about it. Then you got your chance to tell him/her why you think this is good.

  • 30
    I do not recommend asking how the driver is doing. Don't hold up the queue. Even polite British people still need to get to work or catch the next bus or train.
    – corsiKa
    Aug 21, 2017 at 16:44
  • @corsiKa Naturally, you need to select a proper moment that does not disturb the flow. Otherwise you could get the opposite effect, like the friend saying "I do not talk to the driver because it slows down the flow of people". However, if there is little flow, you do want to slightly slow down the flow, sufficiently, such that the friend realises about it. This will make the situation more notorious and increase the chances of the friend asking about it.
    – luchonacho
    Aug 21, 2017 at 16:48
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    um, nope. Don't slow them down.
    – corsiKa
    Aug 21, 2017 at 17:06
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    The friend may come to this site and ask “how to speak to my friend who's rude to passengers by chatting with bus drivers?” Aug 21, 2017 at 23:14
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    What corsiKa said: never slow the flow. If you can say that's en passant, then do so, but never stop. That would be rude.
    – Rory Alsop
    Aug 22, 2017 at 9:36

Whether this is rude (or even just impolite/unfriendly) depends on where you live.

Where I grew up in a smaller town, it was definitely considered normal to say thank you to the bus driver when getting off. Note that these were buses with only one door at the front, so you had to pass the driver to get off.

Living in London now, I'd say it's more normal not to speak to the driver at all. Note that London buses almost always have two doors (one at the front and one in the middle), and you exit from the middle door, which is nowhere near the driver. Saying thank you would mean shouting across the bus!

I've noticed that some people say thank you to the driver in London regardless, and assume this is people brought up in smaller towns like me, but otherwise I think it's perfectly fine not to thank the driver unless they've done something in particular for you (e.g. waited while you ran for the bus).

  • Exactly -- I've moved in the opposite direction and even on the rare single-door London buses it was uncommon to thank the driver. Living in Bristol the stereotypical "Cheers, drive!" or an alternative is more common than not.
    – Chris H
    Aug 22, 2017 at 8:22

Good answers here already on how to go about explaining it to him, but to answer your question of Do you think this is rude?, as a Brit myself I'd say no. If it was a personal service offered to you, for example, a taxi, then yes it would be considered rude to leave without thanking the driver. However, the bus is a service to anybody who wants it, and the driver goes along a set route; it's not a door-to-door service. Personally, I still thank the bus driver, but wouldn't consider it rude not to.

Similarly, in a supermarket, I would thank the cashier at the checkout who provided a service directly to me by putting my shopping through the till. But I wouldn't thank the person who is stacking the shelves, as they haven't done something solely for me.

  • Your comment kind of implies personal taxi drivers are doing you more of a favour than bus drivers - they're both just doing what they're paid to do - taxi drivers aren't just being more generous. To thank them as such seems inappropriate to me - ultimately. But I would thank them both equally.
    – ESR
    Aug 22, 2017 at 1:24
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    @EdmundReed my intention wasn't to imply that, but merely state that not thanking for a personalised, targeted service would be considered rude in the UK, whereas it wouldn't for a generic, open-to-all service. As mentioned, I thank bus drivers too as I find it polite, however it wouldn't be seen as rude not to thank them. Aug 22, 2017 at 7:55
  • Could not disagree more. I used to catch the bus in Birmingham and the bus drivers have to deal with a lot of crap. Kids smoking upstairs, scratching the doors, I was on the one bus where some idiots opened the back door (emergency exit) of the bus to let their friend in. So to me, thanking them is an acknowledgment that they've done their job as best they can, and that I appreciate what they have done. Aug 22, 2017 at 9:35
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    @mickburkejnr the question wasn't about whether they've done the best they can at their job and acknowledging that - it was about whether it's rude not to thank them. I don't deny that they put up with a lot of crap, and agree that it is nice and polite to thank them at the end of the trip (especially in the situations you've described), but the bottom line is it isn't considered rude not to thank them. Aug 22, 2017 at 9:45
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    The difference in who you think it's important to thank seems more based on the fact that you interact with them directly, rather than the nature of the task they're doing.
    – Samthere
    Aug 22, 2017 at 10:44

If Britain is anything like Ireland then it's customary just to say, "Thanks" to the driver as you get off the bus.

But really if I were you I'd just forget about it, there's no need for you to get embarrassed and it's not exactly rude or any reflection on you.

Just continue to say "Thanks" yourself, and hopefully your friend will pick up the habit, but if not, don't worry about it.

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