I came to work on the bus. The bus!

Let's not be hasty, but I'm still alive and free from scurvy

4y ago

Richard Hammond lives 130 miles from our office. I live 1.6. There are benefits to Hammond in all this; he has a much bigger and nicer house than me, more garden, better and more scenic roads for driving and riding bikes, immediate access to the land of daffodils, and much higher exposure to rustic home-made chutney and wife-carrying competitions.

On the other hand, I can go to work on the bus. I suppose Hammond could, technically, in the same way that I could walk to India, but it would take him a bit.

Meanwhile, I walk to the end of the road, get on the bus, swipe my debit card on the magic circle and, for a quid, ride all the way to the workplace. It’s a bit 1950s (ignoring the swipe card) but it works; if there’s a car for me to take away from work and try out, I avoid ‘vehicle scatter’ with my own stuff.

'It's a bit 1950s, but it works'

Says James May

I have to be sure to get on the right bus, because dozens use that stop – there’s a massive chart on all sides of a post, meaning I have to do a Maypole dance to work out which one I need. If I get the wrong one I look up from iPhone battleships and find myself in an uncharted world of inter-war housing that I didn’t know existed. Then I have to work out which bus to catch to get myself back on course. And it’s a lifetime’s work.

On the whole, though, I like it. On a grim day like today, when the sky gleams like mercury*, it’s cosy, comforting and pleasantly communal. Clarkson would claim that it will give me a disease, or that I’ll be murdered by a lunatic, but so far this hasn’t happened. No industrial-era bronchial disorder has been transmitted to me by a young mother and her child, and I’ve checked my torso for the handles of knives sticking out. There aren’t any.

Clarkson is also fond of quoting Margaret Thatcher, she who (allegedly) said, ‘Any man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure.’

But here am I, aged 53, with a happy life and an interesting job, and I have my own Ferrari. So I’m forced to conslude that Margaret Thatcher was talking crap.

*Ivor Cutler, God rest him.

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Comments (58)

  • I think this is brilliant.

      4 years ago
  • HEY! I'm 26 and use the bus... failure- no wait, sod Thatcher!

      2 years ago
  • There are perks but there is also downfalls to riding a bus (which i do). Falling asleep and missing your stop is one of them. A person wearing an entire bottle of cheap cologne or perfume mixed with the smell of body odor and booze coming from others is another bus riding delight (not!) as is listening to someone whacked out on drugs yelling to the air beside them. Sad world we live in, however, If you can get passed all of that, you might be able to enjoy all the passing scenery on the way. I too enjoy riding the bus, gives a new perspective on the world in which we live.

      4 years ago
  • Did your choice to start taking the bus by any chance coincide with your apparent development of allergies to your Corniche? Maybe it has simply been cross contaminated with scabies or the plague contracted by riding the bus. Could explain some things. I developed an unidentifiable malady mere hours after riding a seedy Las Vegas bus. Can only hope I didn't carry it home with me.

      4 years ago
  • Ey, depends on the bus driver you can enjoy a London street race hahahaha 190 to Richmond could be quite frightening sometimes (there's a rastafari one who kills everyone on his way) xD

      4 years ago