A friend of my stepdaughter was accosted on a London bus by a group of fellow teenage girls with the words: "Why are you sitting at the back of the bus like you know Catford?" You have to say it quickly, in the manner of Lauren, Catherine Tate's "am I bovvered?" teenager, inset right, to get the full flavour.
Bus use by teenagers has increased by 40 per cent since Transport for London made it free three years ago, and the back seat on the top deck has become a bit of a war zone, as travel writer Ian Marchant discovered. If you sit there you're asking for trouble. "At the front you're keeping yourself to yourself," one girl tells him. "At the back you're not necessarily asking for interaction – but you may provoke it." And the girls are worse than the boys, another admits: "A lot more rude, and more feisty, and a lot louder."
Amanda, a bus driver, can heartily confirm this. "It's the girls who are inappropriate, to be nice about it," she says. Buses have become "mobile youth clubs", her colleague Steve reports. Still, I suppose it keeps them off the streets.