If you catch a bus tomorrow morning you may get a poetry performance for your trip as part of an NZ Bus campaign to improve bus etiquette.

National Poetry Day is being celebrated this year with poets in residence onboard some of Auckland and Wellington’s main bus routes this Friday.

In Auckland, leading national poets have been invited by NZ Bus to perform onboard services travelling on: New North Road, Dominion Road, Mt Eden Road and Great South Road between 7am and 10am on Friday morning.

The day coincides with the launch of NZ Bus’ etiquette campaign #busbetter with the Bugbears so the theme for the poets is public transport etiquette.

At NZ Bus we want to encourage everyone to be more aware and considerate of each other when travelling by bus around the city. And we thought who better to do the talking than the people who live here, our local poets. We call it ‘poetiquette’.

“Getting on buses to perform to commuters is a great way to show every day Kiwis how accessible poetry can be. There’s no need for a stage or microphone, we just need an audience every now and then. Poetry can be performed anywhere for anyone,” says New Zealand Slam Poet 2012 Champion Ali Jacs.

Teaming up with poets is not new to NZ Bus having previously supported Poetry in Motion in the late ‘90s.

“Public Transport etiquette is just one way of saying that passengers on our buses should expect to have a comfortable and safe trip every time”, says NZ Bus CEO Zane Fulljames.

“We thought having cartoon characters, the Bus Bugbears, and their messages through the medium of poetry would be a fun way to get that message out there – that there are conditions of carriage we expect people to adhere to on our buses to respect the other passengers, our drivers and the actual buses,” Mr Fulljames said.

We have kick started the poetiquette campaign with Block the Way Ray.

There aren’t too many performances but overall it seems like a neat idea by NZ Bus so they should be congratulated for it. The campaign is also one that is similar to ones seen in other cities like this one from Queensland.

NZ Bus Bugbears #1

I guess my only concern is that this campaign is only on NZ Bus buses and it would probably be worthwhile being expanded to all operators and modes.

18 comments to Poetiquette

  • As a bus rider, I would consider having poetry recited me on the bus to be the height of bad manners.


  • Charles

    [not a haiku]

    Bus driver
    Runs the red light
    Business as usual

  • SteveS

    Will we be blessed by Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz imitators? A few substitutions into the Vogon poetry generator yields something truly awful and likely to lead to death through internal haemorrhaging:

    See, see the ancient bus sky
    Marvel at its big AT livery depths.
    Tell me, Len Brown do you
    Wonder why the Gerry Brownlee ignores you?
    Why its foobly stare
    makes you feel gagging.
    I can tell you, it is
    Worried by your slidding facial growth
    That looks like
    A HOP card.
    What’s more, it knows
    Your ***** potting shed
    Smells of bus driver.
    Everything under the big ancient bus sky
    Asks why, why do you even bother?
    You only charm diesels.

  • Kara

    Inconsiderate people will surely change their ways looking at an impertinent bear requiring poor, stereotyped folks in suits having to cue. Yeah – right! As for poetry: as much as I occasionally enjoy it, I heartily dislike having to endure “entertainment” I did not chose. I am with John. Bad enough having to listen to the cacophony of cranked-up earphones, preposterous ringtones, and very personal phone conversations. And no, I don’t see the point in publicly shaming a bear for these grievances at all!

  • Steve N

    I think someone may have been channelling this character.

  • The Real Matthew

    This can’t be serious can it?

  • Logan

    If you’re a bad bus company and know it,
    trap your passengers on board with a poet
    to field frustration and hate —
    Compared to him, you look great
    Despite the fact that you constantly blow it.

  • Barney

    I can only commend the idea. Etiquette on the buses I use has improved hugely of late. Young men often stand for women, others make space available for the infirm and prams, cell phone use seems to be restricted to bogans. There is still some reluctance to move down the bus, mainly young women. Schoolboys seldom give up their seats to anyone but there ethnicity does enter into it as Filipino boys & girls will always offer up their seats. The worst are the so called posh schools. But best of all almost everyone uses a HOP Card. What a time saver that is.

  • Translink in Vancouver have a similar thing, with adverts on the skytrain – ‘funky ferret’ was the ‘winner’

  • nonsense

    I think you guys will be surprised by how good some of these poets are. Some of you are probably too old and bored to appreciate something new, but that doesn’t mean other people won’t.

  • Steve N

    Did anyone actually experience one of these poets on their bus today? My one left the depot before 7am, so I guess I missed out.

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