Make sure you read parts 1 and 2 first!
Having left the busy London Bridge station and its promises of improvement, we headed towards More London. We turn left into the modern shopping parade which I believe is called the Rill, while some children enjoy the water features a little too much by deciding to paddle along them.
We didn’t quite make it this far along, but you can see the previously mentioned water feature. Image: Wikipedia
We stop at Caffe Nero for a rest, where I complete my loyalty card stamps in order to get a free drink in the future. We continue and skirt left past Southwark Crown Court, recently used to convict and sentence Chris Huhne and his wife, before continuing towards HMS Belfast, which I completely forgot was there. We walked past numerous other locations including Hay’s Galleria, London Bridge City Pier and the newly refurbished Cotton’s Centre.
Bus 7: 40 Aldgate to Dulwich Library
Our first bus to get home is to take us to Elephant & Castle, which although is in the wrong direction takes us to an important bus interchange. Upon arriving at the bus stop, I confusingly stare at the bus map since Citymapper had suggested a different bus route that was 10 minutes away. Still I knew which route would be correct so I just found one which followed the same roads. After a number of buses terminating at London Bridge and two of the one other route which goes in a different direction, a bus to Elephant & Castle comes, the number 40.
The bus is now full of the ‘commuter crowd’ who are quieter and usually buried in their phones, and we make slow progress.
We get off a little way past the enormous roundabout with about 4 lanes of traffic, and backtrack to try to cross the road… Although, we could not since someone had put railings all the way down the middle to prevent that. Deciding not to pressure my grandma into literally running across a 4-lane roundabout with traffic coming 4 different ways we attempt to find the subway.
Once inside we walk the very long way around anticlockwise instead of the short walk clockwise, and eventually get our way to the correct exit and stop, where the next bus we needed was just approaching.
Bus 8: 148 Camberwell Green to White City
We boarded this long route with several others, and headed upstairs with a load of people hoarding there bags across several seats. We headed up towards Lambeth and Southwark, before crossing the river via Westminster Bridge, getting a great view of the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye in the process.
Next we headed around Parliament Square, along Victoria Street to Victoria station, where we could see inside the major construction works outside. We head around Buckingham Palace Gardens to Hyde Park Corner, and head all the around the top of the park via Marble Arch, joining the number 7 and 70 routes used earlier for brief periods.
We made relatively quick process along Notting Hill Gate, slowing on the approach to Shepherd’s Bush, where most people left, and we headed around the South of the green where we along with most of the others disembarked. A few people were continuing along to the bus station and the west of Westfield, zince unlike most terminating routes from the South side of the shopping centre, which go via the station and on a relatively long detour, this bus uses the most direct route.
We hopped off the bus and walked along the road for around 25 m to the stop just ahead of us, where we could catch the 607. The countdown screens informed us the bus was 3 minutes away, so I guessed it would be about 6 minutes before arriving, which was quite accurate.
Upon the arrival of the first bus, the driver sailed right past since it was rammed full. Luckily, the next bus was showing 3 minutes, so we sat down to wait for another 5. This time, the bus stopped, but the front, ‘boarding,’ door stayed closed. Instead, one person got off the back, while another rather cheekily hopped on. His intentions were not bad, since he did get his Oyster Card passed all the way along the bus to be scanned on the reader.
But why so busy? The truth is that people really like the 607. It’s one of only three ‘express’ TFL routes in London, alongside the X26, from Heathrow to Croydon, which is currently the longest London bus route at 38.2 km, and the X68, a peak time only bus that runs between the City and West Croydon. There’s two reasons why people like express buses. Firstly, they’re faster, not having to stop at every stop to let one or two people off. Secondly, they’re longer routes. This means that a single £1.40 bus fare can take you the whole way from Shepherd’s Bush to Uxbridge, without needing to change buses and pay again. They’re also more comparable to the tube, with the journey between Shepherd’s Bush and Ealing only taking around 5 minutes longer than the tube on a good day, at less cost.
Since I expected the second bus to be less busy, we hadn’t boarded the two 207, ‘all stops’ buses that passed us in between. I now had to decide whether to board the next 207 in 3 minutes, or risk 4 minutes for a possibly overcrowded 607. I took the risk, and luckily for us it paid off and we soon overtook the 207 I considered getting on.
The route is relatively boring, simply following the Uxbridge Road. There was not much to see along the way, although the bus did quickly fill up and all the seats on the top deck were taken.
And so, we headed home. For the journey back, we actually used the E10 bus, which I wrote about in the first part.
The next day, after checking my Oyster Card records, the number of routes in the list is quite surprising, and I have to wonder how many other people have been on that many in a day as well…
— Tom Kell (@tkell97)
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