diamond geezer

 Friday, February 21, 2014

The 84 is a most peculiar service, an ex-London bus sequentially surrendered to the suburbs. It runs all the way to St Albans, some considerable distance north of London, but was once operated by London Central Buses all the same. They ran the bus station in Potters Bar, a town formerly part of Middlesex not Hertfordshire, hence the 84 fell under non-Country jurisdiction. Go back even further and the 84 was an excursion service running from Cricklewood, even Walthamstow, running weekends and bank holidays only to take the masses on a cathedral city day out. The southern end was later chopped back to Golders Green, then fifty years ago to New Barnet, but the northern terminus has always been St Albans.

As for fares, they've become increasingly parochial over time. Normal London Transport fares used to be permitted along the entire length of the route, but the 84's no longer run under TfL contract so they've been cut back too. Travelcards used to get you as far as South Mimms, then in 2002 the limit was curtailed to Cranborne Road in Potters Bar. Oyster users wanting to travel further had to flash their card and then pay a cash top-up for the extra bit. Then in 2012 operators Metroline removed all pretence of being a London bus, and Oyster is no longer accepted. They do offer a £16 weekly pass for travel between Potters Bar and Barnet, but for anyone wanting a one-off journey the normal Hertfordshire fare is paid.

Another peculiarity of the route is the wide variety of vehicles used to operate the service. Sometimes a double decker is used, at others a single decker, it feels like pot luck. A separate raffle seems to be held to decide whether the bus has a static blind on the front or an electronic display. TfL insist on blinds for reasons of accessibility, so any bus an operator sometimes uses on a London route will have a roll of scrolling destinations. Digital displays are much more popular outside the capital, not least for their flexibility, and because many think pixels make for easier-to-read displays. Who can say which is really better - I guess it's all a matter of opinion.

 Route 84: Barnet - Potters Bar

 Length of journey: 3 miles, 8 minutes

I got a double decker with the black and yellow blinds. It pulled up on Barnet High Street where a handful of us were waiting, pinned up against the chemists. I wondered how much I'd be charged for my trip, which only a couple of years ago I could have made for nothing. "I don't suppose this is any use," I said, waving my Oyster (plus Travelcard) at the driver. "Afraid not," he said, and charged me £2.40 for the short run up from Barnet to Potters Bar. I baulked slightly, then remembered that this was less than I'd been charged earlier in my journey on the 8 and 441. I also spotted that it's exactly the same as the cash single fare on any London bus, which maybe is deliberate, so decided not to grumble after all.

The two pinnacles to the left used to be part of Barnet Methodist Church, and now guard the entrance to The Spires shopping centre. Developers would quite like to knock them down to improve and enlarge the mall beyond, and are currently consulting on proposals for an upgrade. They claim their replacement would have "an exciting contemporary facade clad in brass shingles with elegantly proportioned simple opening", whereas in fact they're wrong about the "elegant", and local residents have them rumbled. The rest of the High Street has a bit of class, especially as it nudges north along Hadley Green. The common's lovely, if a little waterlogged at present, with some highly desirable houses lined up along either flank. We're passing through the delightful village of Monken Hadley, site of the Battle of Barnet in 1471, which is commemorated by an obelisk at Hadley Highstone.

Where the houses stop, London turns back into Hertfordshire. Ahead is the Great North Road, originally the main turnpike plied by stagecoaches to York and Edinburgh, since downgraded from A1 to A1000. Barely anybody lives along the next section so the bus isn't stopping... past the entrance to the grand mansion at Wrotham Park, along the edge of fields and more fields, looking down over Hadley Wood across long ploughed slopes, a bit of woodland, careering on ever faster, a lane shooting in from the right, The Duke Of York, and that's a lonely garden centre, suddenly ducking darkly beneath the M25, then there are bouquets and Saracens shirts by the side of the road where a cyclist was knocked down three years ago, they don't forget, we're at the edge of Potters Bar already, past the Community Hospital, oh this is much more ordinary, a chip shop, a reptile den... and all without stopping. Eight minutes flat, the entire journey.

I'm not heading into the centre of town, so I ding the bell as we approach the first crossroads. The bus stop's called Potters Bar Lion, so I look around for the pub to check I'm in the right place. Of the old coaching inn there is alas no sign, but there is a suspicious looking restaurant called Potty Pancakes, which I later discover replaced The Lion last summer. Who needs alcohol when you can stuff your beer belly with PP's sugary batter and ice cream instead? Thankfully there is as yet no sign of anyone renaming the bus stop in their favour. 313>>

» route 84 - timetable
» route 84 - route history
» route 84 - The Ladies Who Bus
» map of my journey so far

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan21  Feb21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
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

twenty blogs
ian visits
blue witch
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
the ladies who bus
round the rails we go
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel
from the murky depths
exploring urban wastelands

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
The DG Tour of Britain

read the archive
Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
Herbert Dip
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards