Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Yellow Bus

        Not the company in Bournemouth (Yellow Buses, part of RATP group), but a commercial service run by CT Plus, called the 812. It uses a fleet of three, yellow Bluebird Tucanas, to match a PVR of 2. The route used to be run by Mercedes Sprinters, but they were getting old and weak and one did break down, on a route with runs half-hourly. Oyster cards and stuff like that are NOT accepted on this service, but a £1 cash fare is all you need! The route is aimed at senior citizens, who struggle to use mainstream bus services in this North London area. However, anyone is welcome aboard the service and I caught the penultimate departure at 15:30 from Hoxton, Bridport Place. It is a circular route, and the journey takes about an hour.

A Bluebird makes its way around the turn at Bridport Place.
          At Hoxton, two other people got on the bus. It is Hail And Ride, but if the route passes any fixed bus stops, it stops there too.

Interior facing the rear.
      The bus was very nippy, and sped through the back streets in Hoxton. The other two passengers alighted at Packington Street, and it was then when I noticed the weird door sound. It is an extremely loud whine, but it almost sounds like a cat being strangled. I remained the sole passenger until Chapel Market Sainsbury's, which is where the bus almost reached full capacity! There was banter, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, chatting away to each other. I still remained the sole "young passenger", and I did throughout the journey. The bus weaved through side streets to reach Percy Circus, where it circumnavigated the roundabout, and went back in the direction it came. A couple of people alighted here, but the majority were staying on. Near St. John Street, there is a width barrier, where the bus had to crawl at 5mph to get through! I was surprised it could fit, but I'm sure the regular users think it's perfectly normal.

Here is the other Bluebird Tucana that worked the route that day.
       The bus continued down Skinner Street, and briefly went South along Goswell Road, before turning into another main road, Old Street. That, however, was short-lived, and many people alighted on Golden Lane near Barbican, before the bus encountered more tricky turns near Dufferin Street and Radnor Street. I was so close to Old Street Station, and City Road, which takes you straight to Angel. The bus dived into Lever Street, which then leads onto Goswell Road. I thought the bus would head straight up Goswell Road to reach Angel, but it didn't. I was the sole passenger again, but I didn't figure out the bus wasn't heading North until it was circumnavigating Percy Circus again! I went through the width barrier again, crawling at 5mph, until I alighted at Chapel Market, where the bus reached full capacity with shoppers returning to Hoxton. Overall, I loved this bus route, mostly because of its quirkiness. The route has to get through extremely tight turns, and the type is really nippy. The drivers are really friendly, and will always answer your questions, whether you're an enthusiast (like me), or not. I would highly recommend using this service, and I'm sure it will keep going in the years to come....

BT1, at Chapel Market.

Outside the hotspot venue, here is BT1, at Angel Sainsbury's.
Thanks for reading!