In modern times, public transport, whether it is buses, trains, or taxis, makes long-term travel more convenient. Also in that same world, there are winged humanoids capable of actual flying, with obviously long wingspans. Like birds and other flying animals, some tend to get tired after a long flight, especially if they were carrying items.

Say if they want to perch on the bus without trouble. But like people here, they need to pay to ride whatever they're on. Obviously they can't go bus-surfing all over the place, as that's illegal. So what could be a convenient way for the hypothetical winged humanoids to ride on the top of the bus while following the same rules as grounded people?

  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking about how to make this legal, or how to go around the law? $\endgroup$ May 12, 2018 at 3:56
  • $\begingroup$ Are these winged folks sharing the world with non-winged folks? Why would winged folks want to ride outside in the sun/wind/rain/snow/dust? $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    May 12, 2018 at 16:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How does it work in India where people without wings perch atop public transportation? $\endgroup$
    – Mazura
    May 12, 2018 at 17:23

5 Answers 5


I have moved my entire household including cages with birds between cities. The birds do NOT stay on their perches. The motion of the vehicles is so unnatural and extreme that they hunker down on the bottom of their cages and weather the storm.

Granted, intelligence would help considerably. Obviously the wind whips branches around, but have you ever noticed trees moving visibly in the wind tend to be devoid of birds? Their claws really aren't built to handle the upside-down pendulum force of their bodies being whipped around.

  • The top of the bus is absolutely the worst possible place for them. It's the most dangerous and the most difficult to hang on to. There's a reason you don't see open-top buses anywhere but as local tour buses and in amusement parks. Top speed is about 35 mph. You'd have to slow that to about 15 mph to keep the avioids safe.

  • We're all assuming claws, not feet (therefore not really humanoid). If they have feet, there's a serious problem. If they have claws, then use hydraulics to open the top of the bus like the space shuttle hangar doors to give them access to the protected interior.

  • The perches need to be near the floor, as in only high enough to let claws wrap comfortably around them (maybe 8 inches to center of a 5 inch radius cylindrical perch). They can be retracted into the floor with a seat that can be raised or lowered like a hide-a-bed to make the space available for the avioids, their wings, and their parcels.

  • Just as with humans, they need either rails in front of them to hold on to or hand-straps hanging from the ceiling (which opens...). That sway is hard enough for humans who can shuffle their feet in either the X or Y planes. Aviods with claws only have the X plane to work with (which is a huge reason why my birds were on the floor of their cages).

In this case, your biggest problem is how to get them out of the bus without seriously inconveniencing other passengers. There may need to be rungs up the side of the bus (perhaps on the bottom of the hide-a-seat) that would let the birds climb to the open roof to stretch their wings and leap.

One last thing... while an imaginative engineer might figure out a way to let humans and really big birds cohabit the same coach space, in reality their needs are so very different that it's impractical to do it. In the end, you'd probably have busses and train cars dedicated to each species. After all, you'd be just barely inclined to forgive the fat, smelly dude taking the last open seat next to you, but the first time feathers brushed your hair or a wing smacked you on the head as the avioid soared into the air... you'd be complaining to your city council.


You place one flying humanoid that acts as a guard and enforcer. Then put a money funnel on the top of the bus. The funnel drops the coins into the proper receptacle. Alternatively, you could have the driver sit on the top rear of the bus much like how a firetruck is driven.

Your driver is here enter image description here

and someone tosses coins into here

enter image description here


Have retractable perches that are only usable after a coin or token has been placed in a proper receptacle. Make it so that the perch retracts after a user has let go of it.

For expecting mothers, the elderly and the disabled, you may have structures that more closely resemble nests. Again, have a coin slot activate its usability. These might have a conversible cover that stays closed until payment is made, and remain open until a weight sensor lets it know the user has gone away.


This is one of those situations where complicated methods of enforcing payment before your hypothetical birdperson can perch on a bus probably cost significantly more than you would raise by simply operating an honour system. As it's very difficult to control the airspace around the top of a bus and therefore enforce access controls, you end up having to accept that you will just have to trust that people using the service will pay for it.

In London, we're all quite used to using prepaid Oyster cards or contactless credit/debit cards to pay for public transport as and when we board; a card reader somewhere on the top deck that an alighting birdperson can apply payment to and then perch would seem reasonable. We're also quite used to plainsclothes inspectors turning up on the bus and electronically checking your card to make sure it's made a valid payment for the journey you're on, which could be done by passing inspectors on the top deck as well - you don't actually need to employ too many inspectors, just enough that most people know there's enough of a chance of having their card checked that their risk-aversion kicks in.

If you want to try something radically different, it could even be that in this world, the difficulty of enforcing fair payment on this subset of the population has resulted in some different laws. It might be that all birdpersons are required to pay a special tax to cover their presumed use of the public transport services that ground-bound people don't have to - which may help to convey themes of racism and race-based discontent if such are meant to be present - or maybe, in a more egalitarian world, public transportation becomes entirely tax-funded, and is actually free at the point of use for everyone.

  • $\begingroup$ Or, in a more banal world, a puffed up blowhard of a ticket inspector touching down in the middle of a crowded bus and hooting out an imperious 'tickets please' $\endgroup$
    – Pingcode
    May 15, 2018 at 0:44

You could have the perches retract into the roof of the bus. In order to use a perch, the fly-guys would have to pay a fee. This could be done with an machine that extends a perch when a coin is inserted or the driver could be paid and extend a perch him/herself.

When the fly-guys gone as far as their fare will take them, the driver could retract the perch from under him/her. If they don't let go and fly away before that, they are pinned to the roof until they pay for more or the authorities come. For this to make sense, I'm assuming these dudes' have bird-like feet.


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