Riding the Bus

London bus

“He thought he saw a banker’s clerk
descending from the bus
He looked again and found it was
A hippopotamus.” Lewis Carroll
from the Mad Gardener’s Song

I recently read two blogs about buses and they both revived memories of riding the buses when I lived in London many aeons ago.  Elizabeth at Mirth and Motivation wrote about riding the London bus to Cheapside.  And Hallysan at Photographic Memories wrote about riding the Oxford bus.

We had no car when I was growing up in London, so if somewhere was more than walking distance away, we took the bus.  And even if we were to take the tube (aka London Underground) we had to take a bus to get there.

London Trolley Bus

At Black Country Living Museum via Wikipedia

When I was small the area in which I lived was mainly served by trolley buses.  These were powered by overhead electric lines and regularly they were stopped because the poles would fall off the line and become entangled.  This entailed the conductor (yes we had both driver and conductor on buses then) manhandling the poles back into place and then the bus would continue.

Of course as children we always wanted to go upstairs and sit at the front of the bus.

London busThere were no doors and the buses were boarded via an open platform.  I guess we were not as security conscious then as now.

Compulsory stop

Bus stops were at regular intervals along the route.  There were compulsory stops which were depicted by a white sign and request stops had red signs.  Perhaps they are unchanged to this day.

To request a bus to stop one had merely to wave one’s left arm out and the driver would comply.

Request stop

The trolley buses were eventually superseded by motor buses and I am sure that the conductors were pleased not to have to manhandle the poles any more.

My first job was at the Westminster Bank in Liverpool Street.  To get there I took a No 9 bus which took about 35 minutes.

I changed jobs and then I used to travel on the No 22 bus each day to and from Knightsbridge.  This was a journey of almost 1 hour and in the morning I would read the paper or a book but in the evening I would go to sleep.  I used to hold my ticket in my hand for the conductor to check and sleep all through the journey waking only just before my bus reached its stop.  I don’t remember ever sleeping past my stop.

Yet another job had me travelling on the tube.  But first I had to get the bus to the underground station.  This was a journey of about 20 minutes.

Bethnal Green Underground Sign

And then another 20 or 25 minutes on the tube.  But we took the waiting, getting on and off buses, changing lines on the underground in our stride.  Several million other people were doing the same thing on a daily basis.

In parts of New Zealand public transport is almost non existent.  I am lucky in that Wellington has a good transport system and we have a regular bus service that takes me into the city centre in about 20 minutes.

Wellington city bus

Note we still have trolley buses on some routes here in Wellington.

So thanks to my two blogging friends for reviving some more memories and remember :-

“Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories.
So, don’t forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday.

Judith Baxter, Blogger, mother,  grandmother and friend.


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14 responses to “Riding the Bus

  1. I remember the old trolley buses in Montreal and yes, the conductor would have to mess with the lines every so often. And a ticket was 2 cents when I was a kid. Now I think it is 2 dollars!
    love the quote at the end. If all that we treasure is held in our heart , no one, no circumstance, can take it away.
    walk in beauty this day.

    • Hi Jess and thanks for commenting. We lived in Montreal for a short time but out from the city. So no buses for us.
      I have recently started taking the bus into town. So convenient and no parking hassles!

  2. We used to take the bus or train into New York City for shopping or shows. But doubledecker buses look far more romantic. 😀

    Thanks, Judith

    • There is a double decker her in Wellington that is used on occasion. It is not owned by the bus company but by another operation.
      We didn’t think double deckers were anything special when we were growing up but looking back….

  3. I’d never ridden a trolly until my SIL took me for a ride through New Orleans many years ago. I thought it was so cool.

  4. Hi, thanks for the mention, and thanks for the bus trip down memory lane, I enjoyed the ride. 🙂
    When my girls were younger and money was in short supply we used to take the free but to the out-of-town supermarket. My sister and her children would take another free bus from the other end of town and we would meet at the shops. We would have saved as many “money off” coupons as we could ( the supermarket took the coupons even if you hadn’t bought the product then) and use the coupons to buy a variety of “finger food” then we’d settle down on one of the grassy areas to all eat our picnic together before taking our separate busses home again.

    • What great memories of getting together with your sister and her children. I wish I lived closer to mine so that we could enjoy a day like that. 🙂

  5. Thank you for the mention Judith. Reading your post brought back even more memories of my bus riding, innocent days in London. I loved climbing upstairs and looking out the window as I enjoyed a bit or a flask of tea. Thanks for writing about your experience. I remember Liverpool Street too as it was our train stop to Brick Lane and Petticoat Lane Markets. 🙂
    Yes, Nancy, it is somewhat romantic. 😉

  6. I’ve never had the opportunity to ride in a double decker bus, but it looks fun! 🙂

  7. Pingback: I Talk To People | I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

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