Well, I can officially say that this phenomenon occurs in Australia also. My friend and I, upon noticing it three years ago, conducted a study. We realised several things:

  1. Bus drivers always have one syllable names, or names which can be abbreviated to one syllable.

  • Bus drivers always wave. Due to the way this particular bus system worked, there were five or so buses going to the same place, and you caught the first one you could, before changing buses. Once, a bus driver did not wave. We never saw this particular bus driver again.

  • The lollipop men were in on it. They’re the people who stand at pedestrian crossings, carrying the bright “Stop, Children Crossing” signs. In the aforementioned example, were the driver mysteriously disappeared, the lack of wave was noted by the lollipop man. This lollipop man stared harshly at the driver of my bus, moments after he failed to wave to another driver. Other drivers who failed to wave, but were not seen by lollipop men, continued to drive. Also, on other occasions, lollipop men were involved in the waving process.

  • There is some sort of faction system, not based on bus company, but rather some drivers’ hierarchy. A lesser driver must always wave to a senior driver –much like a salute. If the driver was of an enemy faction, a lack of wave was deliberate. By noting who waves first in various situations, one could asses the rank of various bus drivers. One we had, I am quite certain was a general or some such – they never waved first. Also of interest, is that lollipop men always waved as though they were higher rank than any bus driver.

    All of this information turned up over our three weeks of observation. I swear it is all true. There is something going on out there. Watch your back