This bus terminates here

The other day a policeman in uniform came up to me at the bus stop at Waterloo station and asked if I could answer some questions for a “survey”.

A few questions about where my journey was from and too that day – nothing that would identify me – then something like “what is your experience of bus travel today?” Weird question. Not sure how to answer. And do I have any complaints about the service?
Well, the buses are too hot. And often overcrowded. But you expect that… Any complaints about the other passengers? Are any of them rowdy? Abusive? Violent? No, not really. Mostly just trying to get to work

I don’t really know but it looks pretty much as if he was trying to get up to his quota of complaints for the month, and was asking me questions from a form intended to report specific incidents.

He also asked me which bus I used. And would only take one answer. (another clue that it was a fake report for a fake incident)

But that got me thinking as like most people who use London buses, I use all sorts of routes.

I reckon this is about true:

  • More than once a week: 21 24 29 188 321 436
  • Maybe about once a week but probably more than once a month: 47 59 68 91 136 168
  • More occasionally than that but not one-offs, still part of my regular pattern of travel: 1 7 9 12 15 17 43 53 54 73 89 108 122 171 172 176 177 185 199 225 284 343 381 484 P4 P12 P13

Which is more regular routes than I would have guessed I think.

And why is the oldest bus route in the world the number 12?

And talking about the 188, how come when the driver is black (maybe 4/5 of the time) the bus takes you to the north side of Russell Square? Which is where most passengers, including me, are going. But when its a white guy in the driving seat he stops on the south side and plays the little “This Bus Terminates Here” message until everyone gets off? And then we all walk across the square – and the bus gets to the north side before us.