No time to stand in a queue

Have I been writing too much about queues? The good folks at Standinaqueue must think I’m encroaching on their territory too much, for which I apologise. But if there were to be a blog that was the opposite of Standinaqueue — a blog dedicated to avoiding queues at all costs — I think they should be tempted to write about a particular section of pavement on George IV Bridge in Edinburgh.

Standinaqueue has featured cashpoints in Edinburgh, but they have not covered the most poorly positioned cashpoints in the city. I urge William Deed to check them out if he gets the chance.

They are at the Bank of Scotland on the corner of George IV Bridge and Chambers Street. I pass them almost every day in my travels to and from university. Usually I am rushing to catch a train so that I can avoid the dreaded 35 minute wait at Waverley Station.

You might think, oh well, cashpoints outside a bank — not much unusual in that. But directly (and I mean directly) opposite these cashpoints is a bus shelter! When there is a bus shelter on a pavement, it probably halves the width of the pavement. So space on this patch of pavement is already scarce.

But with the cashpoints occupying the same space, any room there might have been for actual pedestrians to use the pavement disappears as you have people arching over and taking great care to shield their PINs.

And then there is the queue for the cashpoints. But this is where it gets even worse. Because on this piece of pavement you might have about half a dozen people waiting for a bus. So there is no space to queue for the cash machines. And if there is, how do you know that you are joining the queue for the cash machine and not the one for the number 42?

The answer is that you don’t, and chaos ensues.

Meanwhile, stuck in the middle of it all are the poor pedestrians (like me) trying to make their way past. Sometimes, nothing short of a very loud “excuse me please” is required in order to remind this mob that they are actually blocking a pavement. I might not be a important person but I bloody well want to catch my train.

George IV Bridge in general is a terrible place to be a pedestrian. It’s the sort of street where, particularly if you’re in a hurry, everybody seems to be conspiring to get in your way. People will come out of some restaurant or newsagent right in front of you, then proceed to walk very slowly.

“Just walk past them,” you say? Hah! Easier said than done. Besides the cash machine / bus shelter double whammy, there is some scaffolding there at the moment. There is also a bicycle rank, meaning that people will be fumbling to get on or off their bicycles. It’s also quite a busy street in general. Plus, if I were to trip over somebody I could find myself falling to my death on the Cowgate.

Sometimes you can get past, but often my only course of action is to do the walking version of the emergency stop (stop dead on your tiptoes), roll my eyes, and raise my arms in a way that says, “Why the bloody fuck are you getting in my way?! Your sorry, slow walking arse isn’t fit to be on the pavement.”

Yesterday I discovered a Facebook group called I Secretly Want To Punch Slow Walking People In The Back Of The Head. I would join, but it’s not much of a secret that I want to punch slow walking people in the back of the head.


  1. Slow-walking people as so annoying…

    I think I know which cash machine you mean, although I usually get off the bus slightly further up and miss them. The cash machines that annoy me most (or annoyed – may not still be there) are the very, very low temporary ones at the other end, at the top of the Mound, that you have to stoop to use. I shouldn’t complain as they’re probably the only ones any good for short people and wheelchair users, but not for me…

  2. What is it about people in a queue for a bus, that you get two queues – one under the bus shelter, and one along the front window of the shop the bus shelter is next to (we’re talking South Bridge here, specifically, but it happens in a lot of places) thus reducing the pavement to one way traffic only?

    That and I have to duck for most bus shelter roofs, so I take the shop side, these ne’er do well ignorant bastards stand there and look at me like I am the stupid one, having to dodge round them, or shove them out of the way.

    Gaaaaah doesn’t even begin to cover it. Come the revolution, they’re already up against the wall.