diamond geezer

 Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I shall shut up about buses now. Not permanently, but certainly for a while, because I have been overdoing them of late. Indeed I've been overdoing them this year, in the same way I overdid the tube last year, as a kind of recurring feature.

But then it's been The Year Of The Bus, TfL's intermittent festival of all things bus-related, and I've merely been jumping on the bandwagon. As the year progressed they opened up bus garages, they slapped stickers on bus stops, and they pretended the New Bus For London had been called the New Routemaster all along. Probably best of all they closed off Regent Street for a whole afternoon and filled it with a century's worth of buses, which is the sort of thing that ought to happen more often, but not too often else it wouldn't be so special. The whole YOTB thing peaked somewhat in midsummer, being much more low key before and since, but in reality every day's an important bus day in London.

» YOTB programme
» 75th anniversary of the RT, on route 22 [photos]
» Stockwell Bus Garage Open Day [photos]
» Regent Street Bus Cavalcade [photos]
» West Ham Bus Garage Open Day [photos]
» New Routemasters on Route 8
» Last Routemasters on Route 9
» Bus Sculpture Trails (still open)

I've taken you on three major bus odysseys this year, not as some form of low torture but because there's no better way to see the capital. And that's the whole of Greater London, including the bits where most people live rather than the flashy tourist stuff in the centre which most of the media generally focuses on. First I took you all the way around the edge, which took 25 buses in total, then I whizzed you round the North Circular, which took only five. Most recently I've treated you to 16 different lettered buses, selecting my routes to give as wide a geographical spread as possible, and enjoying the enormous variety they offered. I was amazed how many of these buses took me to parts of London I'd never visited before, but when the capital covers 1572 km² maybe that's not so surprising. Long may TfL's comprehensive, frequent, simple and reliable bus network continue, and let's hope that no butcher ever decides to thin out the service or lop off some outer branches 'to save money'.

My outer London orbital bus journey on three pages:
492 >> R11 >> R8 >> 464 >> 64 >> 412 >> 166 >> 467 >> 71 >>
>> 216 >> 441 >> U3 >> 331 >> 8 >> 142 >>107 >> 84 >> 313 >>
>> 179 >> 275 >> 247 >> 499 >> 347 >> 370 >> X80

My North Circular bus journey on one page:
>> 112 >> 232 >> 34 >> 123 >> 101

My A-Z of lettered bus journeys on two pages:
A10 >> B11 >> C2 >> D3 >> E3 >> G1 >> H3 >> K5
N15 >> P4 >> R10 >> S1 >> T31 >> U9 >> W3 >> X68

There's no need to read all that lot again, obviously, but I like to make sure that all these series are safely stashed away in the correct order somewhere.

For the same reason, here's a complete list of ten years of route-by-route London bus reportage pulled together in one place, to act as a useful index. I've ridden and written about nearly 100 bus routes now... and, sorry, there are still so many more to go.

» 1 2 3 4 5 7 8 8 9 10 13 16 17 19
» 24 25 25 25 27 34 36 38 38 38
» 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 49
» 53 60 64 64 66 71 81 96 100
» 101 107 112 123 125 135 142 148 159 166 179
» 207 216 216 232 246 247 275
» 308 313 331 N343 347 368 370 388
» 412 464 467 488 492 499
» 507 588 607 702 724
» B12 R8 R11 U3 X26
» A10 B11 C2 D3 E3 G1 H3 K5 N15 P4 R10 S1 T31 U9 W3 X68

Now all I need is an all-enveloping pointless London-based quest to keep me busy next year. I'm sure I'll think of something.

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