The digital screen has been counting down in minutes, suggesting that the bus - a National Express West Midlands vehicle - has got the required bit of tracking equipment on. Indeed a notice on my previous journey had been trumpeting the new smartphone app which informs you of all things buses (or at least when they're due. In real time).
Because I'm a bus geek and can spot a West Brom garage Merc a mile off (my party trick, since you ask), I can see it parked up across the way. But as the screen moves from "1 min" to "due" and then falls off the end, there is no driver for my 42. The screen is disbelieved and a big fat fail ensues.
Arriving on stand now is the next 205, due in 4 minutes, but this will entail a driver changeover, cue more slamming of bus doors whilst this inexplicably long-winded procedure goes on. In TrentBarton land, passengers are let on BEFORE the changeover takes place - now theres an innovation.
But whilst this is going on, I've noticed our 42 driver appear, seemingly in little rush, and then bring our bus around to the stand - now occupied by the 205.
Now there is the sound of bus horns honking as our 42 driver realises his slot has gone and the 205 ain't moving.
But the stand now has a mix of intending passengers for both services.
What happens now? In the end, our 42 driver opts to pull in 1 stop down, resulting in groans from at least 2 fellow passengers, one of which looks decidedly dodgy on her legs. It's a good job we haven't got any blind passengers or others who may not have been aware of what was going on. We eventually leave 4 minutes late.
Why the rant for something perhaps minor?
Because I'm passionate about getting the little things as right as we can in tandem with the big things.
Who knows why the driver emerged late for his journey. There could be a very good reason. But over the years I've seen this far too often.
And it's the little things that non-regular users see and experience far more than us regulars.
If we are to get more bums on seats, the user experience needs to be flawless. Big issues like traffic congestion are a long-term battle to overcome, but seemingly little issues like this one have disproportionate effects.
Providing good service should be objective number 1. Every hour of every day.