The biggest drawback to travelling on public transport is the public. Remove them and you might manage to have a half-decent journey.

Certainly there would still be those inevitable delays and cancellations but at least the source of most of the irritation would be gone.

Of the various forms of public transportation to be endured, the very worst conditions, in my opinion, are found on buses.

Now I've done my share of commuting by train and I've had my fill of gibbering idiots on mobile phones, people whose bodies haven't come into contact with soap and water for months and men who've had too much to drink and are trying to work out where - and who - they are.

On a train, however, the answer is simple enough. You can get up from your seat, should you be fortunate enough to have one, and walk away from the problem.

That's not so easy on a plane it is true but then, to be honest, my worst-ever experience at 36,000ft occurred when someone was sick all over my lap during a spot of turbulence.

That someone was me.

Get on a bus and you're stuck with whatever, and whoever, fate has decreed shall be your travelling companions.

If the company is truly unbearable (school children, for example) you can, of course, get off, and usually there will be another bus following not too far behind, though more often than not it will also be carrying a cargo of juvenile hooligans or similarly antisocial deviants.

At the weekend, The Mother and I got on a bus and within minutes were cornered like rabbits by a stoat. I won't tell you the number of the bus, or its route, except to say it was a journey of half an hour and at times it seemed it would never end.

Five minutes into the ride, we were joined by someone who thought they knew me (they didn't) and was determined to drag me into a conversation.

"Hello! I know you, don't I?" she said. A strong whiff of alcohol drifted in my direction.

"Sorry, I think you've got the wrong person," I replied politely.

"No I haven't, I DO know you, I know you very well," she insisted and started to giggle.

"Who's your friend?" The Mother asked.

"I've no idea," I muttered.

"She seems to know you," said The Mother and smiled at the stranger.

Interpreting this as encouragement, the woman took off her shoes and then started to remove her socks.

"Do you like them?" she asked, holding up a sock. "They make my feet itch. You can have them."

I pretended not to hear, as you do (well, as I do) while The Mother stared fixedly out of the bus window.

"Here, this is for you," said the woman. I feared a sock was heading in my direction but the offering was a black banana.

I shook my head and wished I'd brought a newspaper to hide behind. Undeterred, the women rummaged in her bag and eventually withdrew a small mirror. She looked in it for a few seconds before turning in my direction.

"Look," she said. "I've got a love bite on my neck. Have you got one?"

One or two elderly women in seats further down the bus turned and looked round and I felt my face flushing with embarrassment.

At the next bus stop several new passengers came aboard.

Then I heard the by now familiar voice again: "Hello, I know you don't I?"

"Sorry," I heard a voice several seats back reply. "I think you've got the wrong person ..."