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Monday, March 17, 2008

Why I hope to never take a replacement bus service again

I wake up this morning to hear that the engineering works that seem to have been taking place every weekend on the District Line for the last month have over-run. What a surprise. Ah (7.45am) I've just seen a District Line heading towards Richmond, so reckon that they've just started running again.

On Saturday after coming home from a wonderful afternoon at the
London Transport Museum, I stupidly decided to take the replacement bus services home.

Lots of red crossings out at Kew Gardens
allow an extra 50 minutes to complete your journey - surely some mistake

I got the Piccadilly Line to Hammersmith and a huge amount of people left the platform - this was because the Piccadilly Line also had engineering works and wasn't running between Hammersmith & Acton Town. A replacement bus service was in place to get us to our destinations. I'm skipping a lot here as after waiting around for about twenty minutes for a 391 I managed to get myself to Gunnersbury station through a combination of buses & walking - which took about 25 minutes.

Now I know that some smart alec is going to tell me that London Overground were running trains to Richmond and I should have picked up the train at Gunnersbury. But I forgot. With all the bus stuff going on & announcements about replacement buses I was in bus mode and it was a bus or nothing else to get home.

At Gunnersbury there was one Customer Service guy who appeared to be mute. By rote I jumped onto the replacement bus that was parked there thinking it was going to Kew Gardens. Normally replacement buses heading to Richmond stop at Gunnersbury. Normally replacement buses for the Piccadilly Line don't stop at Gunnersbury. There was NO signage at Gunnersbury bus stop to help.

Transport geeks are going to know what's about to happen now. The replacement bus I was on didn't go to Kew Gardens but sped off towards Acton Town. Quite a significant distance from where I needed to be.

Two of the five customer information assistants at Acton Town

The yellow jackets at Acton Town caught me fuming. I don't normally lose my temper but when I do it's not a pleasant sight. Let's just say they got the worst of me on public transport - I swore, I called them useless, I moaned about the lack of signage, I told them that no one knew what was going on, I said there were too many of them here and not enough at Gunnersbury, I complained with fellow confused passengers, I acted like their worst nightmare.

After a twenty minute wait, I got a replacement bus back to Gunnersbury (obviously I was now going to get the overground train back) and decided to look at the signage there. Nothing outside the station. When I got inside I saw the nicely printed sign below:

Clear signs at Gunnersbury?

At Kew Gardens I saw this:

At Kew Gardens Station

The ticket office was closed and there would not have been one member of staff to speak to had I wanted to. So never again. I will cut my losses the next weekend the trains aren't running & go and return via Waterloo.


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