Reminiscing Over the 207 Bendy Bus
The 207 bendy bus or free bus as it was more commonly know as, use to run between White City and Hayes. Friday the 9 of December was it’s last day of service, after almost 10 years.
On Friday evening I was in Shepherds Bush…a part of London I lived in when I first arrived in the Big City. I was there to enjoy some ice skating and watch a movie courtesy of the PR people of Westfield London shopping centre, which I will get around to writing about sometime real soon…probably!
As I stood at the bus stop with the African Princess waiting for the bus back to Kilburn I couldn’t help but reminisce about the 207 bendy bus. At least 2-4 times a week I would use the free bus, well it was free for a lot of people, but I did pay, because that’s the kinda guy I am. I use to be amazed by the audacity of some people … young, old, very old, men and woman who would just walk onto the bus and not scan their Oyster Card.
When I travelled on London’s free bendy bus with a Jamaican girl I use to know she would never pay, she would ask me ‘why are you paying, hardly anyone pays on the bendy bus’. Her trick was to stand next to a scanner and if the inspectors came on the bus she would quickly scan her card…
The inspectors would on a frequent basis appear for spot checks – 4 or 5 of them would storm the bus ready to catch out the unsuspecting. I use to wonder how much it cost, as well as how much time and effort it took to mount these operations to catch out the cheats!
I remember one particular day when the inspectors stormed the bus eager to dish out some fines! There was a woman at the front of the bus, who paid cash. I know because I watched her. She couldn’t remember where she put her ticket. She gave the inspector her life story as she frantically searched her bag, purse, pockets for the ticket. She was going to visit her mother who was at deaths door in the hospital. You could see the look on the inspectors face…he didn’t believe a word of it, he thought she was a chancer. I was glad when she finally found her ticket.
Another woman who suddenly couldn’t speak English, I better watch out because if say foreign woman I will find myself in court or something! For about 5 minutes the woman just sat on her seat, talking in her native tongue. I guess she was saying ‘I never knew you had to pay to get on the bus.’ I looked in amazement when she showed the female inspector her British passport, would a British Citizen really not be able to speak English…welcome to London…welcome to the UK! Eventually the woman was led off the bus by the team of inspectors.
I know there is a lot of people crying over the fact the bendy buses are now finally off the roads of London. I guess life will become that little bit more expensive for many of them as they will now have to pay to use public transport like the rest of us. Why should those who pay, subsidise the cheats…
Reminiscing over the 207 Bendy Bus, a bus that a lot of people are going to miss for all the wrong reasons…