|The first bus that leaves The Spires is the 389, at 10:17.|
The whole of the estate is hail and ride and lots of Barnet-goers boarded every 10 seconds or so. Underhill is quite a deprived area and I do think it's disappointing that a dense estate like it has such poor connections, with only five trips a day to the town centre. However, it is also a very friendly and closed community, with almost everyone on the bus knowing each other and a couple of people greeting me as they got on the bus! After just 10 minutes, the bus was back on its way to The Spires with an average load and after the Hail and Ride section finished SEN23 ran non-stop to Barnet High Street, where most of the bus got off. I enjoyed my ride on the shortest route in London and I was looking forward to riding the 399, to check out the differences between these two routes. After alighting SEN23 through the rear doors, I got straight back on again and sat in the exact same seat, to make a good comparison.
|The process of changing the blind in action, SEN23 on the 399.|
Before Hadley Wood, the 399 passes through a small area called Monken Hadley, which consists of a playing field and the longest iBus announcement I've ever heard; "Hail and Ride Monken Hadley Church Of England Primary School". No one got off until after Camlet Way, where the 399 starts a one way loop. It was at this point where the houses started to become mansions and my theory of the whole bus being middle class was correct. One of the fellow passengers was talking about putting a sun dial in their front garden! The 399 then turns right onto a very steep hill, to serve Newman's Way and Greenbrook Avenue, which is a popular destination as half of the bus got off there. Another amazing factor was that the driver actually knew where people lived and pulled up right in front of their house even though they sometimes didn't even ring the bell!
Eventually the 399 goes back onto Camlet Way and continues running in a straight line until the end of the road, where it briefly turns left onto Cockfosters Road, providing an interchange with Sullivan Buses route 298, running between Potters Bar and Arnos Grove, although they don't share a stop for whatever stupid reason. However, the 399 only spends a few seconds on the main road and it turns left onto Lancaster Avenue, where the final passengers got off and it was just me and the driver again....For a few seconds, as two people hailed the bus 10 yards down the road! After a couple of minutes SEN23 arrived at Hadley Wood Station, which is served by Great Northern's service from Welwyn Garden City to Moorgate. Strangely, no one boarded here and the bus remained empty until passing through the white gate again, where a couple of people got on for the short trip down to The Spires, where my adventures on the two routes ended.
Overall, I loved my experience on the 389/399. They are both strange in completely different ways and the contrast in the places they serve is brilliant, considering they share a vehicle! I highly recommend that you try out these two routes as you'll definitely have fun on them! Thanks for reading!