Fat Hands

she used to sit in this cafe, and just face the wall. And it wasn’t coffee she was drinking

Dear London Transport…

Posted by Alix on 16 October 2007

I am often unhappy with the service you provide. Short of walking home from work (I already walk to work, a journey of 4.6 miles) I see very few ways to escape your poor service. However, I have devised the following system which helps me to feel I have received some redress for your shoddy practices. Here it is:

I will omit to swipe my prepay Oyster card on one bendy bus journey, thus compensating myself 90p, everytime that:

  1. The bus I am on terminates unexpectedly, before it has reached the destination stated on the front of it. How many times have I got on a bus bound for Holloway only to be turfed out at Manor House? Too many, that’s what. I appreciate that targets for bus frequency must be met (although I see scant evidence that this is actually working), but what the hell is the point in running a service where the buses are frequent but the journeys abortive, and a significant number of passengers pissed off and out on the pavement halfway along? It seems any loyalty to the passenger as customer evaporates as soon as we’ve beeped our Oysters. This is hella more annoying than waiting an extra 5 minutes at the initial boarding point. Plus it can cost more – true, you can submit yourself to the disdainful looks of the driver and ask for a transfer ticket for the next bus (arriving at some indeterminate point in the future), but what to do when a bus from another route shows up? Any canny bus traveller would jump on another route to continue the broken journey, but the transfer ticket (as far as I am aware) will not be valid on a different route. So, wait again for the right route bus or spend another 90p? I honestly do not believe that traffic conditions can be that unpredictable or change that dramatically during the length of one normal bus journey to necessitate so frequent premature termination. I’m not saying that buses should always have to go the entirety of their route, but that it should be possible to state more accurately just how far a particular bus is going, with a bit more planning. I’d much rather sit at Holloway for 20 minutes not getting on 253s that say they are terminating at Stamford Hill, and instead wait for one bound for Hackney that I know is going to go all the way.
  2. When in-service buses with plenty of room in them fail to stop to let passengers on. The injustice of this has pretty much reduced me to tears on previous occasions – there is nothing more frustrating that waiting 15 minutes for a bus only for the driver to somehow forget that buses are supposed to stop at bus stops (and yes, I do stand right by the stop, arm out). I do have one good thing to say about London Transport on this point though – the following happened to me waiting for a 253: the driver sailed on by, but was seen doing this by a S2 driver behind him who beckoned me to get on his bus, at which point he sped along to the next bus stop, cut up the 253 so it couldn’t leave the stop, thus allowing me to board the bus! I was most impressed by this behaviour, and am sad I never really got a chance to thank the S2 driver, everything being so hurried, so if you’re out there – thanks!
  3. When there are 3 or more buses at a stop and the buses at the back of this queue lets passengers on at some distance from the stop, but then do not stop at the actual bus stop. Often it is impossible to see which bus is at the rear, and if you’ve got heavy bags, or a pushchair or whatever, you are in no position to nip back to see which bus it is, and end up ‘missing’ it despite having been at the bus stop. I do agree that passengers should be allowed to board in these circumstances, but drivers need to make sure there aren’t any people at the stop itself.

Anyway, that rant went on much longer than intended, and makes me sound utterly crazy but I do get pretty angry about these things when they happen, fume away about it for a while, then fail to do anything about it (blogging is my equivalent of ‘doing something’, clearly).

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2 Responses to “Dear London Transport…”

  1. Rebecca said

    Dude, you’re not crazy! Everything you said is perfectly valid and I agree with every point – especially the fury of the busses which board away from the stop and then don’t stop at the actual real life stop. Aargh!

  2. Alix said

    Phew, thank god it’s not just me..

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