As a frequent visitor to England’s capital city, I’m a regular user of public transport. Planes, trains, tubes, buses; I hardly ever take a cab. A 1-day ‘travelcard’ allows me to use public transport all over Greater London.

I generally stay in the south-west or south of the city centre, so when I’m heading into central London I’m on the train to the giant termini of Waterloo or London Bridge station respectively, before venturing into the heart of the beast.

This is fortunate for me, because there is a rather splendid bus service called the 521. The 521 goes from Waterloo to London Bridge in a kind of upturned ashtray shape, passing Waterloo Bridge, Holborn, Cannon Street and London Bridge. Then it loops around and goes back from London Bridge to Waterloo, before repeating the process, all day.

What I find about big cities is that generally the bus is the mode of transport you get to know the last, but it’s often the most rewarding.

At rush hour there can be hundreds of people politely queuing for the service from Waterloo, yet the buses come back to back and hoover up 500 or so people every 10 minutes. From London Bridge, the queues are not as deep, and you also have the majestic splendour of the Shard to distract you as you wait around 3 minutes maximum for a bus. The views from the bus, as you can imagine, are spectacular, and you also get the buzz from being right in the teeth of the city and amongst the people, which you never truly experience on the train or in the soulless bowels of the underground. It’s a truly great way to see the city while getting from A to B, or from B to C.

If I was a bus driver I think I would like delivering the 521 service.

Advertisements