For some reason, I seem to be experiencing some adventures on the bus of late.
On Sunday, on my way to a Black History Studies film in Victoria, the bus driver forgot that he was meant to divert into Kensal Road W10 and not drive along Ladbroke Grove. Hence, just before the Grove station, he was forced to apologise to passengers and take a circuitous route to enable him to reverse and return towards Sainsburys. He then found that he had overreached the corner and had to back up, annoying other drivers and to the bemusement of passengers, including a family of small children (between 5 to 10 years old) sitting at the front top deck with their father. They thought the whole thing was a hoot, and described him [the driver] as being “an idiot”. Their father agreed. What happened to respect for your elders? Anyway, after a few hairy turns and speed that would not have been out of place at Brands Hatch, we survived the journey to Victoria.
Yesterday, 7 March, after boarding a bus from Willesden Green to North Acton , we arrived in Harlesden, where the bus terminated. No explanation from the driver. Passengers waited at the stop for another bus. It was at least 10 to 15 minutes before the penny dropped and we realised that the bus stop was closed, as there was a hole the size of a land-rover just ahead of us. The driver did not think it was worth mentioning to us poor, sad passengers. What lemons we were! I then proceeded towards a bus stop ahead - which I thought would be clear of the obstruction and take me back to sanity. As I left the scene of chaos, with several headless chickens wandering what to do next, one young women set off for the next bus stop. I warned her that that would be pointless, as she would encounter the same problems. She continued on a pointless venture regardless. She might still be there now, waiting for the 266 bus to Hammersmith!
I took myself to the bus stop at All Souls church, where indeed the rogue bus service re-emerged minutes later from the thoroughfare behind - Acton Lane. It was futile to vent my spleen or politely express annoyance to the ‘human being’ behind the wheel, as he was as blank as a new exercise book. In the course of this distraction, I touched my offending oyster; paying again for a journey which should not have been interrupted in the first place. Why did passengers have to get off the bus, only to walk to another stop on the same route? Should the driver not have informed us that he was on a diversion, affording passengers a choice to stay on or get off?
On my return towards Willesden; surprise, surprise, I touched my oyster on the 266 at North Acton, only to find that I had spent my one and only remaining fare when I touched to continue my journey earlier. Of course, the driver had no change of £5. He had only just set off from Hammersmith - all the way down the road! He was not in a charitable mood - nor were any of the other passengers, in providing some change. And I wouldn’t dream of creating problems for the driver. In short, [One had to get off the bus. Fortunately, there was an oyster point around the corner, where one was able to top up]. Arriving in Harlesden later, what else was I to expect, but heavy traffic, caused by my favourite crater. I really wished then, for certain transgressors to tumble into it, but that would be quite evil, wouldn’t it?