Ladies and gentlemen, TFL: it’s true. I’m a convert.
I took The Bus to work for the first time last week. It’s because I’ve moved house, the bus stop is half the walk to the tube and there’s a bus that goes all the way to London Bridge – albeit in a drunk, winding, hour-long stagger through Brixton and Camberwell that no sane motorist would choose.
I resolutely avoid buses in London. Their arrivals are unpredictable, they randomly change destination, take endless, silly routes and do appear to be the main location for the everyday street theatre of rudeboys, angry ranters, racists and/or 2pm drunks.
But after years of cramming last onto the Northern Line, with the ends of city boys’ ties shoved in my mouth and career girls’ stilettos scraping my calves, the top deck of the 35 is an absolute spa. People spread out over two seats each, three if they’ve got that Friday feeling. Newspapers are opened wide, tired arms stretch, coffee is sipped civilly from Thermoses. People smile and nod, then drop eye contact. I half expect a string quartet to pop up and serenade us, or oven-fresh brioche to be handed out. I’m all over it. It may take four times as long as the Great Northern Line Sardine Experience, but it’s four times the joy.