Friday, 2 March 2012

The Number 301 Route (Not)

As far as we can tell the only actual 301 seems to have been green and run round Hertfordshire at some stage. There does not ever seem to have been a London Bus answering to this number.

Instead we present our 

What is our card?

63 Regular aka Technical Support designed a LOGO (which you see on the blog page). It is also on our hooded sweatshirts and the cards we hand drivers as we disembark at the end of the key route. We have had them since Christmas 2009 but did not think it fair to hand them to drivers of Routes in the 300s and 400s, as they would have needed to wait years to see their routes blogged. We also give them to members of the public who look at us quizzically as we take photos of gasholders etc.

Do we do routes both ways?

No, except for the 215, which we needed to get us back from the Lea Valley Camp Site.

Linda has ridden the 329 both ways for technical reasons.

Jo is genius at devising a ‘daisy chain’ of routes usually with minimal walking between them – as the routes get more suburban this may get more difficult. But we try to avoid too much duplication especially on the same outing.

Do we have a favourite route?

Yes, but we are not necessarily going to tell you. We try to be polite about most areas we visit as some one lives there and loves it and will defend it to the hilt.

Do you have a favourite route?

Most people we have met have a sentimental attachment to the routes of their childhood or ‘first jobs’ or even their school buses. Think about it.

Do we ever get off to visit places or people?

Not on the whole, though sometimes we get turfed off early (see the 38, for example).
We are more likely to make a note of the interesting thing and make a specific visit as a separate excursion.

Do we stop for lunch?

No, we try to be through by 1.30 to 2PM but if it’s a longer day we tend to take sandwiches to eat en route.

Don’t we need comfort breaks?

Of course! We often start at stations with built-in facilities and have been known to ask at stations, if they are not immediately obvious. Otherwise usual places such as shopping centres, the occasional pub or Costa.

What if there are substantial changes in a route between our riding it and its getting posted?

This happened with the 159 – in the interim, the route got extended from Marble Arch to Paddington – so an impromptu Rules Committee decided we should ride the extra bit, and we did.  However, we have not bothered if a route changes from single to double decker, (the 78) or from bendy to upright  (12, 18, 38 25 and 207, 436 etc all went by Christmas 2011) – we are not here for the technology!
In fact in the three years we have been riding the buses the Number 38 has just reached its third incarnation with the launch on 27/2/2012 of the new ‘Routemaster’.

We do not hold a nostalgic passion for the old  Routemaster. Having commuted to school on one there was a certain joy in hanging off the back platform along the Finchley Road and living to tell the tale but on the whole improved safety, comfort, visibility, warmth, access and stability of the current models is preferable. Techies will notice that we are not much bothered by the bus company or bus model. As long as they are red and clean. We are impressed with the ‘hybridones that run partially on electricity or good will or something. (They have green leaves on them and deliver fewer particulates> pollution to you and me.)   

How many of us have to ride a bus for it to be valid?

As long as at least one of the three key LWB is present, it counts but we enjoy it more when two or more of us are there.  We also like company – friends or family – as will be seen in several posts.

Do we read or respond to the ‘Comments’ readers leave?

On the whole we appreciate gentle comments which give additional local information – we are passing through many areas with which we are not familiar at bus speed, so may well omit local sites/sights or get things wrong. We do not assume we are experts on London or even London Transport. If people are confused we may answer and we delete most advertising that sneaks through.

Why does the quality of photos vary?

You try taking a picture through often-dirty glass in a speeding bus on a rainy day and results will be poor. You should see the ones we delete. We often line up the camera to take a choice shot and some passing lorry gets in the way. We do the best we can and the better shots will be on double decker routes in moderate sun (too much and it starts reflecting).

Aren’t we bored yet?

Not yet, though we must admit the charms of certain repeated stretches of common routing – Elephant & Castle, Edgware Road, and Hounslow to Southall – have worn a bit thin, and stretch our creativity to remain lively ‘en blog’.   Happily, there is almost always something new to keep us interested.

Are we boring?                       

 That's for you to decide.

O yes, and here’s a picture of the Blog’s birthday cake, complete with three candles. The other pictures for this particular non-route are a further selection of Little Gooner’s photos of Legoland London.


  1. On doing routes both ways - what happens when you get to the circular routes with different numbers for each direction?
    Two of these (H9/H10 and H18/H19) are among my local routes; the other one is R5/R10.

  2. Hello! I've enjoyed reading and visiting your blog. I work at the London Transport Museum and wanted to get in touch with you - about both of your challenges actually! Drop me a line if you can: it's