Posted by: Gary Klaukka | June 29, 2009

On the buses, cont.

I had previously talked about my frustration at London buses terminating before their intended destination, causing delays to passengers. I was travelling on the 390 from Notting Hill Gate to King’s Cross station to catch a train to Cambridge on Saturday. As the bus reached a stop at Oxford Circus, it remained stationary. An automated announcement came on.

“This bus is being held here for a short while in order to regulate the service.”

Transport for London defend this policy in this press release, but I do not find it convincing. The key paragraph in their argument is the following:

“However, there are some situations that make this necessary, such as road works and major incidents, which can lead to large delays and as a result some buses have to be curtailed. Otherwise, all the buses would be delayed in reaching the end of the route and there would be large gaps in the service travelling in the opposite direction.”

Please correct me if my logic is flawed, but: why not hold the buses at their respective termini? As a London bus passenger, I find it far more frustrating if my bus is held in the middle of its route, especially if I have to be at work at a certain time or catch a certain train. I would not be inconvenienced if the service of the 390 were regulated at Notting Hill Gate or Archway (its termini).

Surely the purpose of running London buses is to get passengers from A to B as swiftly as possible, and not to run as technically regular a service as possible!

Blue screen of death on the 390(Photograph obtained from


  1. If you only hold at the end of the line, stops close to the end get irregular service, which means both non-swift and crowded transport for people boarding there. It’s a tradeoff.

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