Friday, 12 October 2012

The Number 399 Route

Thursday 13 October 2011

This was the first time in the whole life of the Project that we were confronted with an hour’s wait.  (the day had begun with the 234, which had brought us to The Spires, Barnet at just after 10.45….the 399 leaves at, yes, 45 past each hour)  Mary, very reasonably, said she had to go, so, Linda being in South Italy, I waited alone.  I wandered into the Spires and bought a pencil sharpener (aah, the last of the big spenders)

I was not entirely depressed, as what was to be my bus happened by on its way to its resting place, and the driver kindly said he would be back shortly. Four of us got on, at 11.45, and the driver then waited a few minutes for a fifth passenger.  We were bound for Hadley Wood Station, though as it turned out, I was the only one actually going there.

We headed out to loop round some attractive terrace houses and the front of The Spires, and almost immediately the bus sign announced that we were in a Hail and Ride Section, which lasted the whole route.

We were held up by a few road works as we passed enormous properties around Hadley Green, and then came into the entirely villagey area around St Mary’s Church. Monken Hadley was very well maintained, and then we were into the woods.  As we looped through the housing areas, we were slowed by parked cars, despite the huge hardened front gardens and double garages.  Here one new passenger got on, and the driver then waited for another lady of mature years.  This brought our passenger number up to seven, but two of the originals immediately got off.

We went through a wooded area (Hadley Wood, obviously!) and then back into residential streets.  The houses we were passing grew slightly smaller, and then we came to an area of enormous semis, a bit like the ones around Crystal Palace but here, I think, not divided into flats;  then it was more gigantic properties, and the remaining ‘original’ passengers got off, leaving me and the two newcomers. 

Suddenly we were at Hadley Wood Station, but I only realised there would be no pause when the information panel clicked to ‘Barnet The Spires’, so I jumped off.  Clearly the two passengers had boarded to complete the trip out and then head back to Barnet for the shopping.  The entire trip had, after all, taken a mere 17 minutes. It is, I suppose, not surprising that a bus that carries  just seven passengers in the middle of the morning should  be a ‘once an hour’ service.


  1. Spires not Glades in the last paragraph.

    You missed a bit of the route - just the length of Crescent West after the station, but then it goes straight back to Barnet, not round the loop again, so those two passengers had no choice if they wanted to go Barnet.

    An oddity is than one bus alternates between the 389 and the 399, providing the complete service for both.