The Real Rules Of Using London Buses

A refresher course on the realities of bus travel

1 | Positioning yourself on the pavement at the exact point where the doors open is the closest you’ll ever feel cool in the context of bus travel.

2 | Downstairs is for the very old, very young and the infirm. And for journeys of less than 6 minutes.

3 | Upstairs, four rows from the back, by the window. Best seat in the house.

4 | Unless it’s after 10pm. In which case, you’re probably in mortal danger.

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5 | Taking a bus from zone 1 to zone 3 needs to be prepared for in the same way you might prepare for a flight. Snacks, water, earplugs.

6 | Asking a driver for route information is the act of the insane or charmingly naïve.

7 | Other people who engage the driver in conversation are your sworn enemy. These are 90 seconds you will never get back.

8 | Sitting upstairs at the front with London in front of you is still oddly exciting.

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9 | Spotting a free double seat on a crowded bus warrants an internal high five.

10 | The most feared words in urban travel: 'the destination of this bus has changed'.

11 | The most annoying words: driver change.

12 | Realising your Oyster pre-pay has expired mirrors the five stages of grief – denial (try it again), anger (swearing), bargaining (with the driver), depression (as the bus drives away without you) and acceptance (could take a while).

13 | Waiting for a bus for longer than 11 minutes can take you to corners of your soul that years of psychotherapy couldn’t reach.

14 | Wheeled luggage upstairs? Madness.

15 | Making a big show of moving your bag when new arrivals have already sat down? Cowardly. And you know it.

16 | The exact moment you walk downstairs will be the exact moment when the driver lurches, brakes and accelerates in short, violent bursts. This is just the way it is.


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