London buses!

Last month I blogged a bit about the ridiculous situation of the local buses here in New Malden - the K1 bus which goes off just before the people off the train from London can get on it. It looks almost like a conspiracy to drain the bus of customers so the bus company can pull it (as is alleged to have happened before the Beeching closures in the 1950s), or maybe it’s just stupid. But it’s not just crazy timings - it’s crazy drivers as well. Nobody can fail to notice that a whole load of new buses have been brought in, including accessible buses and bendy Mercs. The Mercs had to be pulled off the roads a couple of weeks ago after three of them burst into flames, but they are now running again. But last night on a ride on the 131 from Raynes Park to Burlington Road, I got a taste of the dodgy quality of some London bus drivers: they drive too fast, they accelerate too fast, and they brake too hard. People were swaying on their feet on the top deck as they try to make their way to their seats.

It’s not the first time I’ve been on a bus where the driver goes too fast for the road. It’s mainly that the engines are too powerful - right now they are powerful enough that they can send a double-decker along the steep hills around Sanderstead on the 412 route, once the preserve of little “midi-buses” ie. short single-deckers. Worse than this, some of these drivers are arrogant and inconsiderate to their passengers in other ways, such as driving off without looking to see if more passengers want to get on, even when they run up right in front of the bus or knock on the door. One bus driver even expected me to get on a moving bus!

The stretch of road where I live has had two of its bus shelters smashed over the last couple of weeks or so - what do people get out of smashing up bus shelters? It was the glass that was smashed - it was clearly not the work of a car accident. On one of them, the Mayor’s office have placed a poster showing a fairy picking up a discarded fast food box, with the slogan, “when you leave things on the ground, will a litter fairy come around?”. That’s originality.

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