diamond geezer

 Wednesday, May 04, 2011

London's ten rarest bus routes* **
*
scheduled TfL buses, in one direction, ordered by weekly frequency (no school journeys, no mobility services)


1)   347     Romford → Upminster → Ockendon
On the eastern edge of town the 347 runs ever so occasionally, acting as a lifeline to not very many houses stretched out along far distant lanes. It's a very long wait if you miss one... although there are rural communities outside London who'd think "every two hours" was a magnificent service. I've got to go to work somewhere on the 347 route today, for the first time ever, but alas the first bus doesn't run until 9am so it's worse than useless for me.
Mon-Fri 4 buses, Sat 4 buses; weekly total 24 buses

2)   W10     Enfield → Crews Hill
Most people who go to Crews Hill go to the garden centres, and they have cars because it's difficult to lug wisteria, potting compost and a trellis on the bus. The W10 stops short of the greenhouses, on the estate up Rosewood Drive, helping these borderline London residents to go shopping in Enfield... so long as they're quick. The weekday service is the worst anywhere in London, only operational between 11am and 2:30pm.
Mon-Fri 4 buses, Sat 7 buses; weekly total 27 buses

3)   389     Barnet → Western Way
4)   399     Barnet → Hadley Wood
The 299 bus runs regularly between Muswell Hill and Cockfosters. Once the morning rush hour is over, one vehicle flips its blind to become a 399 and nips round Hadley Wood to the shops in Barnet. Here it flips its blind again to become a 389 for the eight minute trip to the Underhill estate. Then it's eight minutes back to Barnet, and flip back to 399, and back to Hadley Wood, and flip back to being a 299 again. And repeat until the evening peak. Flipping infrequent.
Mon-Fri 5/6 buses, Sat 5/6 buses; weekly total 30/36 buses

5)   385     Chingford → Crooked Billet
I say Crooked Billet, but I really mean the big Sainsbury's close to what used to be Walthamstow Stadium. The 385 exists solely so TfL can claim that people living along the eastern edge of the Lea Valley reservoirs have a bus service (even if it is a bit sparse and packs up by 4pm).
Mon-Fri 6 buses, Sat 6 buses; weekly total 36 buses

6)   N28     Camden Town → Kensington → Wandsworth
7)   N31     Camden Town → Kensington → Clapham Junction
You might not have realised, but London boasts a magnificently regular night bus service. Every London nightbus runs at least every half hour... except for these two, which run only hourly on weekday nights. Admittedly they follow the same route from Camden to Kensington, which is as good as a half-hourly service, but it's a much longer wait beyond that.
Mon-Fri 4/5 buses, Sat 9 buses, Sun 9/8 buses; weekly total 38/42 buses

8)   H3     Golders Green → Hilltop → Golders Green (circular)
This little minibus meanders through the back of Hampstead Garden Village, to the north of the Heath, along long residential roads where every householder owns a car. It stops at the Spaniards Inn, nips up to East Finchley station, turns round beneath East Finchley Cemetery and then heads all the way back again. You just wouldn't.
Mon-Fri 7 buses, Sat 7 buses; weekly total 42 buses

9)   R10/R5     Orpington → Knockholt → Orpington (circular)
The southeast corner of London is remarkably rural, green and villagey. These titchy minibuses tour the border with Kent, serving Cudham on the London side and Halstead on the other, via a variety of other obscure non-urban locations. The R10 goes one way round the big loop while the R5 goes the other, slightly more often.
Mon-Fri 7/8 buses, Sat 7/8 buses; weekly total 42/48 buses

10=)   359     Addington → Selsdon
This brief south London shuttle links a tram interchange and a supermarket, diverting midway to rumble round the Monks Hill estate. The 359 is highly unusual in that it runs every 35 minutes, not every 30, for no obvious reason other than to make the timetable terribly hard to memorise.
Mon-Fri 9 buses, Sat 9 buses; weekly total 54 buses

10=)   375     Romford → Havering-atte-Bower → Passingford Bridge
And finally, back to Romford for London's only every-90-minutes bus. There's a bit of a history here. London Transport used to run a bus all the way from Romford out to Epping, until 1981 when an Essex company took over. They then pulled out in 2008, due to the introduction of the Low Emission Zone, leaving no link whatsoever and several communities bus-less. TfL promptly stepped in with the 375, which trots infrequently up to the edge of London, continues to the first practical turning-round spot at Passingford Bridge, and then heads back to Romford again. It's no bloody use as a link to anywhere, but it keeps the edge of Havering ticking over.
Mon-Fri 9 buses, Sat 9 buses; weekly total 54 buses

** unless you know better


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