diamond geezer

 Thursday, January 10, 2019

Route 507: Victoria to Waterloo
London's 3rd shortest bus route
Length of journey: 2.24 miles (15 minutes)

For the first time in my countdown I've hit a route I've blogged before, and fairly recently too. But that was eastbound in the rush hour, so this time to avoid undue duplication I'm riding it westbound at the weekend. The 507 isn't really a weekend kind of bus, having been introduced in 1968 as a Red Arrow service to whisk commuters from Waterloo or Victoria to their desks and back, its service designed to cope with two peak-time spikes. Over the years it's seen flat fare buses, bendies, longer-than usual-single deckers and today a fleet of cutting edge electric vehicles. It is no ordinary service.



Dougal and his mummy are waiting at the first stop on Upper Taxi Road. "It's a day for doing nice things with Mummy," she says. They've already watched Jade Thornton busking something from The Greatest Showman on the mainline concourse, and now they're catching a 507 to continue their bonding experience. Once the bus arrives they walk through the cattle class standing area and settle into one of the seats at the rear. Mummy opens up her rucksack, from which she takes out some Tupperware, from which she takes out some neatly scrunched tinfoil, from which she unwraps a healthy snack for Dougal to enjoy. "Thank you Mummy," says Dougal. "You're very welcome," says Mummy. If the zebra crossing outside the station ever clears, we should be underway.

Two tourists with luggage have settled into the view-free seats immediately behind the driver, squandering the opportunity for world-class sightseeing later on. Another woman yells "Yeah, I'm on the bus" into her phone, because it's not a ten-part series on London bus journeys unless that happens. The 507's super-duper electronic display won't tell us how long it is before we reach Victoria, but the last stop before the cut-off always seems to be seven minutes distant. "Let's stop off at a lovely bakery," says Mummy. "I love bakeries," says Dougal. "You can't get nice bread in a supermarket," says Mummy, and I wonder if this statement might be the best definition of being middle class I have ever heard.

A new family board the bus at St Thomas's, their dad savvy enough to know that they can use the middle doors. He stands near the pushchair with grandpa, and the two of them engage in blokey banter about Chelsea and Stamford Bridge and Fabregas and FA Cup prospects that's probably not stopped for the last 30 years. Mum sits further back with their daughter, whose name is never uttered, not least because this parent is too engrossed in what's happening on her phone. The Thames is a slightly darker shade of grey than the sky. A pair of pleasure boats moored upstream have nowhere to go today. A dozen red buses can be seen strung across Westminster Bridge, almost nose to tail. Daughter clutches her CBeebies magazine and stares forwards.



The cafes on Horseferry Road are silent because the civil service haven't come to work today. Former offices at 9 Millbank have become a vast hole which will become luxury flats. Channel 4's HQ looks partially boarded up, but no, they haven't redistributed to Leeds just yet. Our next fresh boarders are a bunch of middle-aged geezers, one clutching the Racing Post under his arm. "Warmer in 'ere innit?" he says. They launch into a well-rehearsed spiel about football, ending with the line "everyone hates Tottenham" at which everyone guffaws. A noisy ambulance speeds by. "Do you know what the first letter of ambulance is?" asks Mummy. Dougal knows.

With their rucksack repacked, Mummy and Dougal alight outside Westminster Cathedral to continue their adventure. A nice bakery somewhere awaits their custom. Clued-up passengers also disembark here because the final leg of the journey involves a slow crawl into the far end of the bus station, whereas there's a new tube station entrance just across the road. On the home stretch silent daughter chirps up for the first time, announcing that she needs a wee but can hold it in. In her hurry to clamber off she accidentally drops her furry lion which falls unnoticed to the pavement. I prepare to undertake my heroic deed of the day, but just in time she notices and turns round and runs back and is joyfully reunited. The weekend 507 is a breed apart.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream