got in / down the bus [down from / off]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Karen123456, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. Karen123456 Senior Member

    Malaysia English
    When the bus arrived, the door opened and the passengers got in from the front, while the other passengers got down from the rear of the bus.

    1. Are 'got in' and 'got down' correctly used? I was taught that passengers got on or off the bus. The sentence sounds awkward to me.

    Could someone please let me know whether the sentence needs rephrasing or is it correct ?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. mjscott Senior Member

    When you get in a bus there are about two step you must take before you are on the level of the other passengers and can get to a seat. If the bus has a back door, the people usually enter from the front, and exit from the back. The exiting people would have to take a few steps down before they were at curb level and could continue walking on the pavement. Got down from the bus, or got down off the bus is another way of saying got off the bus.
  3. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    You can say they "got down from the bus" or they "got off the bus". When you tell us they "got down from the rear of the bus", some of us might think for a minute that they were somehow "on top of the rear of the bus".

    One solution which comes to mind is: They climbed down out of the rear of the bus. Or: They stepped down out of the rear of the bus. That gives me the vivid mental image of people moving downward without any confusion about where they started from.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2010
  4. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    You could also say "... while the other passengers exited at the rear of the bus". In British English I believe they still use "alighted", which is such a lovely word.
  5. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    A British bus passenger would not say "alighted". The bus company, in one of its more formal/legalese moments, might use "alight" in print.

    As to the scenario in post #1, I would say "People got on at the front while others got off at the rear/back." Where I live, we would not say "got in" or "got down".
  6. Majorbloodnock Senior Member

    South East England
    British English
    I agree. When using almost any form of public transport, one would normally get on or get off. There are, of course, also other terms that would work equally well for certain forms of transport (boarding and disembarking an aeroplane or a ship is commonly used, but would sound a bit odd in relation to a bus or train).
  7. Uncle Bob Senior Member

    British English
    One can also "step on" and "step off" a bus. (I seem to remember that that was used in some advertisement for London Transport)
  8. Aardvark01

    Aardvark01 Senior Member

    Midlands, England
    British English (Midlands)
    I would rephrase thus :

    When the bus arrived, the door opened and the passengers got on while others were getting off.

    Both getting in and getting down sound wrong in relation to buses. In central England we usually say we get on/get off or leave a bus. We get in to/get out of a smaller vehicle like a car or taxi and we only get down from something high like a roof or a tree.

    It is no longer neccessary to state the location of the door since British buses rarely have back doors any more. There was a time (when I was young) that buses had ticket sellers called bus conductors, but ever since this job was given to the driver buses have been made with only the one door, at the front next to the driver's seat.

    It is also unneccessary to use 'passengers' twice in the same sentence. We tend to reduce the number of words (ellipsis) and make 'other' into the plural.

    To say "the passengers got on" is OK but to use the definite article for "the other passengers" suggests that everybody already on the bus got off. This rarely happens unless the bus is at the end of its route.

    Finally, we could use the past simple "...while others got off." But by using the past continuous tense - "were getting" - we emphasise the idea of a longer process instead of something which happened quickly/in a moment.
  9. Hermione Golightly

    Hermione Golightly Senior Member

    British English
    I'm a bit puzzled by the need to be talking about who's getting on and off a bus and where they are doing it. Maybe this piece of writing is for the sake of using vocabulary correctly.
    Almost all the buses in our area have two doors. The only ones that don't are small single deckers used on certain residential street routes. There's a door in the middle of one side used for getting off and for wheelchair access, as well as the door at the front next to the driver's seat.

  10. Majorbloodnock Senior Member

    South East England
    British English
    I agree with everything you say except this. Being a Southerner, I'm used to regular trips up to London where buses with multiple doors are anything but rare. Given Hermione's comments above, it seems it's also pretty common in several other of our largest cities. Nonetheless, I expect you're right for any more provincial settings and certainly right with regard to my nearest towns.
  11. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    Buses in most U.S. cities still have back doors. Some, called articulated buses, have multiple back doors. Stating the location of the door still applies here if talking about a city bus. Long-distance buses usually have only one door.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2010
  12. Aardvark01

    Aardvark01 Senior Member

    Midlands, England
    British English (Midlands)
    I guess we should ask Karen12356 these questions:

    1) What sort of buses are you familiar with in Malaysia?
    2) Where is your story set?
    3) How specific does your description need to be? ie. Does your story need to mention the front and back of the bus for some reason?

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