I don’t travel on the 29 bus as often as I used to as I no longer have to travel regularly into Camden Town, so the news that the articulated ‘bendy’ buses were being withdrawn had passed me by. It therefore came as a pleasant surprise to see new Wright Eclipse double decker buses serving the route on Saturday. Only one route still operates bendy buses, the 207, and these are due to be replaced next month.
Apparently although the contract price of the new buses is more than the buses they replace, there will be a saving to TfL because of greatly reduced fare evasion. This doesn’t surprise me one bit: half the people using the old 29 buses didn’t seem to pay; on the other hand one of the more entertaining aspects of riding the 29 was watching the reaction of fellow passengers when the occasional ticket inspector got on the bus. I was amused when catching the 29 on Saturday to see that the chap behind me on the bus breezily walked past the driver without paying, only to be called back and asked to leave the bus.
I’m told that articulated buses had their fans but I for one will not miss them. I particularly disliked the ride, especially at the back of the bus when travelling along an uneven road, when the cantilever action seemed to cause the back to bounce up and down like it was at sea. And I hated the overcrowding, to which the 29 route is particularly prone – the stop outside Camden Town Sainsbury’s being particularly notorious. More seriously the 29 gained a bad reputation for crime and general antisocial behaviour, earning it the nickname of the ‘crazy train’ and ‘party bus‘.
So goodbye ‘bendy bus’ – you will not be missed… not by me, at any rate.