In discussing my project with Ron, he mentioned this sense of conversation, community and ownership of routes tends to occur most easily with those who are at the end of outbound routes (first stops inbound). He might be on to something.
It is there where you get on first with plenty of seats and you travel the longer distances together. His bus route was to Fairfield and he mentioned that when he moved a few suburbs further in (to then be in the middle of the bus route) he noticed his interactions and conversations were different. Suggesting that there is a greater sense of “ownership” when you go to the later stops. Perhaps as far to say that if you arrive in the middle of routes (when buses are half full/full) there is less “ownership” as you are in a way visiting another person’s existing journey.
I began to further think this idea of beginning/middle/end of routes, and it seems true dynamics would be different. This seems true of my own bus route
The 455/454 to Middle Park is the bus near my parents house. There is indeed a sense of ownership for anyone travelling past the first main transfer stop (Mt Ommaney). You can take any number of buses to Mt Ommaney from the City, but travelling beyond that on the 455/454 that is the only option. The community on that route therefore is more regular and stable out of necessity. On a given journey it is unlikely you will see the same people get on/off at main transfer points like Mt Ommaney and Indooroopilly (as they have more options). But you can almost guaranteed to see the same people at the stops at the end of the route. That isn’t to say those in the middle of routes are less regular, but also I think I tend to stop noticing when it starts to get crowded.
When I use to take the 300/305 from the Valley that was in the middle of a route. I would notice the same people on my stop, but hardly notice if the people already on the bus where the same. The commute was shorter and that too might have contributed to those rides feeling much different to my 455/454 rides.
It feels like friendly conversations will more likely happen with those traveling to the ends of routes.