By the time you read this, I’ll be heading somewhere else to do and see new things (and catch up with a couple of people as well). It’s going to be a big and daunting journey for me, something I’ve only done once before in my life, but I’m really excited about it too. And while I’m gone, I’m going to miss a load of things – Climate Camp and the Greenwich Comedy Festival for a start. I’m not going to regret being away for Thames Water digging up my road, though.
But there’s one thing I’m not going to be able to do any more. Earlier this summer, Boris Johnson started his plan to cock up London’s buses by getting rid of the bendies on… one of the routes which needed them the most, the 507. I can see an argument for bendies not working very well in the twisty streets of Stoke Newington, sure. But the Red Arrow pair of 507 and 521 became giants of the road with a bend in, helping people get to work and back again quickly, even if it was in a bit of an ungainly manner.
From Tuesday, the 521 will also become a shrunken memory of what it once was. And so, if you’re in London today, or on Friday, it’ll be your last chance to enjoy London’s best and cheapest fairground ride. Riding through the Strand Underpass on a bendy bus.
I think Ken cocked it up by not having conductors on board the buses, myself – it might have dented some of the painful snobbery shown against the bendies, and stopped them from being such a paradise for fare-dodgers.
But instead, because the Evening Standard and its dwindling band of readers threw their dummies out of their gold-edged prams, London’s commuters are going to suffer. If you’re a 521 passenger, good luck next week as you try to squeeze on board a normal-sized bus…