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London’s new buses are a great improvement

newbusYesterday I stepped off the back of a 24 bus, something I had not done for many years. While I was away in the Galapagos Islands new buses were introduced on the 24 route between Hampstead and Piccadilly. They are inspired, as Mayor Boris Johnson tells us, by the old Routemaster buses which Londoners liked. A chief virtue was that you could step off the open back of the bus if it were caught in a traffic jam. The ‘door’ buses that replaced them had doors that the driver would not open except at a designated bus stop, making the passengers virtual prisoners. Many a time I have been late for a meeting because I was unable to leave a bus caught up in traffic. No doubt officials decided we’d all be safer that way. The new ones have three doors, front, middle and back, and you can enter and pay with your oyster card through any of them. There are stairs at front and back, too. Transport for London tells us that on busier central London routes a conductor will ride at the back, not collecting fares, but aiding passenger safety when people exit through the rear door. The conductor on my bus today was very courteous, informing me that if I did alight where there was no stop, I would do so at my own risk. I told him I knew that, and much appreciated being allowed to make my own decision about it.


One Response

  1. Hear hear! But some of the conductors seem trained to obstruct you. I’ve had to dart around a couple of conductors trying to prevent me from leaving the bus (in stationary traffic) — which is less safe, because I’m paying attention to the conductor rather than the road!

    And the back of the bus does actually have a door, usually kept open, but closed if there is no conductor on the bus. Which rather defeats the point of introducing the new buses.

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