I was excited about getting on the Gemini 3 B5LH when I was speeding through Blackheath on the brand new E40H's allocated to route 54. However, I knew immediately that it would take some time to get out of Maze Hill on the 53 because of the traffic on Shooters Hill Road. Trust me, it looked horrendous. I got off at Vanburgh Park, only to find I'd just missed a 53. Luckily, it was an Enviro, although I would rather get an Enviro every day than get on a Gemini 3 B5LH ever again. I found out that the next 53 was in 14 minutes, so I walked up to the Vanburgh Park/Stratheden Road stop. I hoped at least one of the two buses coming in the next minute was a Gemini 3 B5LH. As it turned out, both of them were. Stupidly, I boarded the first one, and I regretted minutes after I boarded. For a start, the bus behind was 13001, the first Gemini 3 in the batch. Secondly, the bus I was on was packed so I had to sit in my least favourite seats on any double-decker; right at the back on the far right. They are extremely uncomfortable and they make me feel a little sick, but thankfully it's not too bad. However, this was my worst experience in these seats yet, because the bus was so dark inside. Like the NB4L, the Gemini 3 has extremely slim upper deck windows making the bus dark. I seriously don't know why bus manufacturers have decided to make the upper deck so unpleasant for passengers. To make matters worse, my bus was stuck in stand-still Greenwich Park traffic. I was so glad my bus wasn't curtailed, the iBus and blinds said Whitehall. Although, the iBus didn't have a clock, whereas the bus behind us (which was then in front of us) did.
|I hope 13010 receives a clock soon, like most other London buses.|
The bus crawled along Shooters Hill Road, meaning the gap in front of our bus got bigger and the bus got busier. The traffic eased off a little bit once my bus had passed Greenwich Park, although I was still sitting at the very back by the time we'd left Deptford. It was near here where the quite empty 13001 overtook us, and picked up all the passengers. So, at New Cross Gate Station, I began to edge forward as the bus got a little emptier. By the time our bus had turned on to Old Kent Road, I was sitting in the seats right by the stairwell. I quite like these seats, because you can still see out of the front window if you look straight ahead. That is the case on most buses, but this bus and the NB4L's front window are so small you have an extremely limited view from it, meaning you can't see much from the seats behind the stairwell on these two buses.
Mercifully, the bus emptied out on Old Kent Road and at Malt Street, I managed to get the front seats. I looked out for Gemini 3's going the other way, and at Dunton Road I saw one!
|13014 braces itself for the journey to Plumstead. Can you see how small the upper deck windows are?|
|13016, was sitting at Rodney Place with nothing on the blinds and no one, not even the driver, on it.|
|Rear of 13001.|
|The front of 13001, the transfer bus for 13010.|
|The rear of 13010.|