Down and out in Islington and Brent

I wrote a few weeks ago that one of my favourite things about being skint in London is getting to see the city from the top of the bus.

Since then, my usual journey to work has been disrupted by major engineering works and I have been forced to take the bus every day.

So far I’m still happy to gaze out the bus windows as we leave Angel and pass St Pancras, Harley Street, Baker Street, Edgware Road, Little Venice and beyond until we reach Kensal Green and my office. I’m noticing fascinating and often opulent new buildings every day and amuse myself in the traffic jams by watching and listening to the people around me. (By the way what is the collective noun for a group of teenage friends at the back of a bus? A cackle of passengers? A cru? A shriek? A lurch? A holler?)

I’m worried this honeymoon period isn’t going to last much longer.

At first I thought it would be great, and that getting the bus would save me money on travel, so I could save up a bit for a holiday or at least a new top. Nope.

On Tuesday I went to replace my Zones 2 and 3 travel card with a bus only pass, and was staggered to find that the bus is only a tenner a month cheaper. Sure the bus does go through Zone 1 for that price, and my journey to work is quicker and more comfortable by bus than by tube, but still, it’s the bus! They’re supposed to be the McDonalds of public transport, so why do they cost the same as the Pizza Express option, the tube?

I can’t understand it, but I refuse to join the naughty men at the back who rush to tap their oyster cards on the reader when an inspector appears, so I suppose I’ll have to cope, and search for another way to save money while still enjoying London life. Perhaps if I switch my meals to McDonalds and Basic dishes.

If only the voice of the TFL bus lady didn’t call out ‘West London Cemetery’ for my stop every day, this might all be a little easier to stomach.

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