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Reflections: Riding The London Bus To Cheapside…

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“When all is said, its atmosphere (England’s) still contains fewer germs of aggression and brutality per cubic foot in a crowded bus, pub or queue than in any other country in which I have lived.” Arthur Koestler

Reflections: Riding The London Bus To Cheapside... The 13 Bus from Golders Green...

Reflections: Riding The London Bus To Cheapside... Underground on The Tube... Piccadilly Line

The London Underground or  the Tube/the Underground was my favorite mode of transportation during school holidays. Sure, we took the occasional cabbie for outings and hopped the bus, from time to time, but the underground was the fastest way to get around… When I started my first summer job at a Bank  on Cheapside, I would quickly take the tube from Golders Green Station on the Northern Line towards Morden to Bank Monument/Bank Underground Station, a mere 29 minutes ride.  Then I’d walk from the station in my high heels, a teen favorite, tottering along in my youthful exuberance and hoping not to fall head first on the pavement.

While the tube was fast, the actual walk from Bank to the office was a good 10-15 minutes in heels, and I’d often arrive sweaty and sore. As time went by, I had to choose another way to get there without hurting myself. It made sense to bus it and hop off closer to the office. Plus, the tube was always quite crowded in the mornings anyway, and everyone seemed frazzled and rushed…

“I’d rather go by bus.” Prince Charles

Reflections: Riding The London Bus To Cheapside... The 15 bus from CC/ Trafalgar Square to Blackwall...

Reflections: Riding The London Bus To Cheapside... The London Underground sign at Westminster

Once I realized it would make sense to just take the bus, I gathered all the information I needed from the London Transport booth, and decided on one main route and an alternate. I could hop on the Route Bus 13 by  Golders Green Station towards Aldwych Buses every: 5 – 6 minutes, sit on it through FINCHLEY ROAD NW3 – routes 13 82 113 328 N13: and OXFORD STREET: routes 6 7 10 13 23 73, switch buses at Trafalgar Square/Charing Cross and take the Route Bus 15 from Stop: F towards Blackwall Station leaving every: 8 minutes. Then get off and walk from the Cannon Street Stop: MB  to Bank or stay on a bit to get closer to the office on Cheapside.

It took all of  1 hour and 25 minutes, and I could snooze, look out the window or eavesdrop on early morning conversations about the usual suspects in horrible office dramas. I made a few acquaintances and even met a couple for lunch, but the joy of the bus ride was the sites and sounds outside.  Periodic glimpses out the window offered a parade of sharply dressed Londoners anxiously marching ahead to work. I would memorize a scarf, a colored hat, the cut of a jacket to go hunting for later…  The street was my runway, the bus my seat at the fashion show. And then, I almost killed myself…but I digress.

With the impending hurricane, I might be offline till Monday… I will follow up on comments when feasible. Posts were already scheduled. Stay safe all! 😉 More Below.

“He thought he saw a Banker’s Clerk/ Descending from the bus:/ He looked again, and found it was/ A Hippopotamus./ `If this should stay to dine,’ he said, / `There won’t be much for us!’” Lewis Carroll

Reflections: Riding The London Bus To Cheapside... Tube and Busy Bus Stop... Oxford/Circus Tube

One day, I was in a hurry to get off the bus and since I had watched the female conductor hop off the moving bus for weeks, I thought I could do it.  She made it look easy and so I thought, why not, just hop off and get to Cheapside. Before the bus could come to a halt, I waved goodbye to her and went careening off the bus, hitting the pavement hard and banging up my knees. She sounded the bus alarm, the driver jerked to a stop and she proceeded to yell at me for trying to become her first fatality in 15 years on the job.

I told her I was imitating what she made look easy. “Cor Blimey mate, you bloody idiot! It took me 15 years to learn to hop off! ” Yep, I learned a life long lesson that day… The bus to Cheapside might be a breeze but hoping off a moving bus takes 15 years.   What are your thoughts? What public transportation story do you remember? Why has it stayed with you? Do share! Thank you. 😉
This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Plinky: Remember that one time on the bus, when…? Share your mass transit stories.

Positive Motivation Tip: Important events in our lives don’t often come in big spurts, but in small moments of instant recognition offering memories of a long lasting lesson.
PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos Piccadilly line,  Underground sign at Westminster, London Bus 13,  London Bus route 15Busy Bus & Tube stop, via Wikipedia. Terrific resource from – London Transport

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

39 Comments leave one →
  1. 28/08/2011 12:08 am

    I remember when I first came to Australia, travelling with a group of similar age (late teens. I’d never seen a suburban train before – in New Zealand our trains went from city to city and they stopped for a LONG time. We all had suitcases (we were travellers) and I didn’t realise suburban trains stop for a whole (what seemed like) 2 seconds. I took WAY to long to get off this train and the doors were closing as I escaped by a bee’s dick with my luggage barely intact.

    We have double decker trains in Sydney, not in Melbourne. I’ve always wanted to travel in a double decker bus, although WHY I have no idea as I get awfully bus sick! I turn green – literally.

    • 30/08/2011 1:12 am

      I don’t know how I missed your comment Robyn but it is great to find out that we have all had some sort of experience with public transportation and not all funny! TY for sharing and I’m glad you got out safely too…

  2. 28/08/2011 1:04 am

    I have a bad memory of a double decker bus. My hubby (my boyfriend at the time) was a bus conductor and as I came out of work one day his bus came past my office as I had just come out of work. In high heels, I ran towards the bus and it started to move off just as I reached it, and I fell under the back end – luckily nowhere near the wheel! He pulled me up onto the bus (it was an open back-ender) to nurse my badly bruised and bleeding legs! I still have the scars 40 years later!

    • 28/08/2011 2:23 am

      Good Lord Barb! Sounds a bit like my story… 🙁 What a nasty scare wasn’t it? And I bet you, like me, thought we could just hop on because they look like they are not moving that fast. Truth is that the distance between the street and the platform is a tad dangerous and when I hopped, I almost killed myself. Yeah, I totally get what happened to you. Good thing you were not near the wheel.
      Phew! TY! 🙂

  3. 28/08/2011 1:12 am

    Yeah, that was a riot alright. I’d watch her do it so smoothly and thought it would be easy to hop off… I’d never forget how quickly I flew across that pavement and the bus wasn’t moving that fast… I coulda bit the dust. TY Robyn! 🙂
    Hey all, it is raining like crazy here and internet access is intermittent. i will definitely catch up on your blogs as soon as possible… You know I always do.
    TY for your well wishes and comments. We will all be fine in NY… God’s Grace! Be Safe all!

  4. 28/08/2011 1:36 am

    I’m glad your safe. No more jumping. I did that before and its easy to be off balance. A great story with humor and suspense. A cool ride by the way.

    • 28/08/2011 2:26 am

      TY mate! 🙂 I’m glad to find out that there are more of us who made that move and thought it would be easy. Hopefully, others would pay attention and try not to jump onto a moving, albeit slow moving, bus. They are swifter than they look and the fall hurts big time. 🙂

  5. 28/08/2011 5:41 am

    I once fell off a bus that was standing still, so you did better than me!

    Stay safe.

    • 30/08/2011 1:13 am

      Good grief Tilly! I’m glad you’re alive. Those falls are known to be fatal! 😉

  6. 28/08/2011 6:33 am

    the actual walk from Bank to the office was a good 10-15 minutes in heels, – frizz: high heels? and how in Adidas, Puma etc.?

    • 30/08/2011 1:14 am

      What teenager wore pumas to work? We were trying to be grown ups and the idea of sneakers were not on the table. I still love heels but I am far more sensible about them now. TY! 🙂

  7. 28/08/2011 6:41 am

    I used to love it when they were open at the back and you could run after them and jump on. Always an adrenaline high

    • 30/08/2011 1:15 am

      Good Lord Peter! You must have had more agility than me… My bus was open in the back and I almost killed myself jumping off. LOL! 🙂 TY!

  8. 28/08/2011 10:05 am

    What a great idea for a post. It would take a post for me to remember my experiences on the buses and metro. Thank goodness you were all right after the fall…I kind of learned, not only can you not jump off, but you can’t jump on no matter how slowly you think the bus is moving. 🙂 Delightful post bringing back so many memories.

    • 30/08/2011 1:18 am

      You are so right Georgette… they seem slow but are deadly on both ends; I have heard of horrible things happening when people think they can beat the bus. The conductors are experienced and do it so smoothly but they practice daily and know when to hop on and off. TY! for stopping by… I will return the blog visit. TY! 🙂

  9. 28/08/2011 11:35 am

    My Grandma ( years and years ago) thought that she had missed the ferry, so proceeded to run and jump onto the ferry as it was pulling out…it was actually just docking 🙂 (my favorite grandma story) thanks for the chuckle xox

    • 30/08/2011 1:20 am

      What a riot! I have heard that one too.. Good thing she was safe because it would horrible to fall off a ferry pulling not dock… TY for stopping in. I’m loving the feedback as we all have a story or two to share. 🙂

  10. 28/08/2011 1:25 pm

    Nothing nearly that dramatic on public transportation, fortunately. I always joke about taking the local train back from NYC and it’s like walking to Newark because there aren’t any open seats.
    How’d you fair with Irene?? We got less than expected on all counts, thank goodness!

    • 30/08/2011 1:23 am

      We got some tree related debris and lots of wind… but all survived. Thank God. I worry about the trees because we have lots of them and they are huge and quite old. I’m glad you guys were okay…My sympathies go out to those who lost family and personal effects… Prayers to all.

  11. 28/08/2011 1:55 pm

    Hmm . . . I liked moving from car to car on moving trains. Hopping over the couplings while racing down the track at 65 miles per hour.

    I did not do it in high heels. 😀

    • 30/08/2011 1:25 am

      Good for you Nancy! I walked the trains but it was different as I knew the cars were enclosed. After a while, the behavior was banned and you could be fined or thrown off… I was happy to let that one go. The bus was another story… yeah, heels and all. TY! 😆

  12. 28/08/2011 4:59 pm

    My goodness, that must have given you a scare!
    I’m trying to think of any bus stories. I usually take the bus here — it’s slower than the subway, but especially in the summer, I can’t take the heat or the stench at some of the stations. And maybe it’s being underground, people just tend to be more everything.
    The bus is pretty civilized, I usually get a seat (except when the kids are in school) and I’ve made friends with other people who take the same bus each day. That rarely happens on the subway. People tend to stare straight ahead, hardly speak to others or keep their heads buried in newspapers or books. Also, on the bus riders (more often women) are more likely to give up their seat to a pregnant woman. Not so on the subway.
    Hope Irene wasn’t too bad to you. Winds are picking up here, lights have flickered but they’re still on, thankfully.

    • 30/08/2011 1:27 am

      Irene moved on TY God! The bus is civilized and while I enjoyed it in London, I didn’t in Manhattan. I prefer the stinky subway or walking. I did take some west-side buses over the years and they were cool… Not a bad way to get around if you have time on your hands… as they are quite slow. TY! 🙂

  13. 28/08/2011 6:13 pm

    OUch!! I hope you weren’t too badly injured from the fall. I can just imagine the horror the conductor must have felt as she saw you flinging yourself out the door.

    It’s funny when I compare Europe’s mass transit with our love for cars. Reno’s bus system is ok but nothing to shout about. It sounds romantic eating your breakfast on the double decker watching the world go by.

    • 30/08/2011 1:34 am

      It was romantic but I can’t imagine doing it for say, 20+ years which some did. I have good memories of it as a young person but I wonder if I would have continued to enjoy it if it kept up for longer. I do love the double decker buses though. You feel like you are on top of the world… TY! 🙂

  14. 28/08/2011 8:32 pm

    Wow, ouch!! Funny how when people are really good at things, it starts to look Easy!
    I haven’t seen a double decker bus in years, and they certainly look fancier than the ones I used to ride to school! We’d crouch down in the back upstairs so the driver couldn’t see us smoking cigarettes!

    • 30/08/2011 1:36 am

      What a riot! You were quite bold… I’m glad you have good memories and that I survived my fall. TY! 🙂

  15. 29/08/2011 11:23 am

    In Philadelphia we have the trolleys. When I was young we would grab hold of the back of the trolley while on roller skates and get where we wanted to go that way. It was fun and dangerous at the same time.

    • 30/08/2011 1:38 am

      WoW! You were bold and dangerous… I couldn’t keep up with that… I’m imagining the high speeds that were picked up from doing that and I bet your parents would have wanted to kill you for daring to try it. TY! 😆

  16. goz permalink
    29/08/2011 12:10 pm

    I remember catching the tube late one night, when I was a student in London. I’d barely made myself comfortable when an obviously very drunk middle aged man plonked himself on the seat right next to me. He must have subconsciously longed for company because the train was practically empty with so many seats available. Anyway, I didn’t want to make him feel bad by changing seats so I sat put and smiled, even though he was reeking of all kinds of alcohol..several minutes later, I just couldn’t take the smell anymore and on the spur of the moment I just decided to switch seats and sit opposite him. Best decision literally seconds after I got up from that seat, he retched violently and threw up all over it! I could not believe it! I’d missed being drenched in puke by a whisker! I’ve never forgotten that experience..

    • 30/08/2011 1:40 am

      Hi Goz,
      What a nice surprise visit. OMG that you got up in the nick of time… That is a hysterical story and I bet he would have loved to barf over you so he could retell the story too… I’m glad you moved… Yeah, those late night trains were often a waiting room for the drunk and incontinent… TY for stopping in… 😆

  17. 30/08/2011 11:51 pm

    Aww, sorry to hear about your falling, but at least you were brave enough to try the hop 🙂 I have to say, as annoying as it could be to commute to the city for work, I actually miss it. I use to listen to my iPod, read books, nap. I spent all summer with out cracking open a book. It is quite sad.

    • 03/09/2011 12:21 pm

      Oh dear… but now with your good news, you will have another opportunity to do the things you love in the city again… 🙂

  18. 01/09/2011 4:39 pm

    Good story… brought back memories of my three visits to London. Thx!
    James –

    • 03/09/2011 12:23 pm

      You are welcome James, and I’m glad my post jugged a few good memories there for you… 🙂

  19. 07/09/2011 6:17 pm

    Elizabeth. Thanks for prompting more memories. Riding from Hackney to Knightsbridge on the bus. Good for a snooze on the way home and I always awoke in time to get off at my stop until….well, that’s another story.

    • 12/09/2011 10:54 pm

      I’m sure you had some wonderful stories that came your way on that bus. 🙂


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