Thursday, 27 September 2012

The End of the Road for the London Bus?

When most people think of Oxford Street certain things immediately spring to mind: endless clothes shops full of dithering half-wits standing in the most inconvenient places and breathing through their mouths, impressive Christmas lights, a tube station packed with mouth-breathing half-wits dithering in inconvenient places, January sales, the frustrating struggle along pavements teeming with half-witted ditherers determined to find the most inconvenient place in which to mouth-breath, pick-pockets and, of course, buses. Lots of buses. Big, red London buses are as much a part of the Oxford Street experience as the resolve to get away from it, but that could all change if the street’s store owners get their way.  According to some, the approximately 270 buses passing through Oxford Street per hour is too many, and there have been proposals to replace them with a tram service. This idea is clearly preposterous and would only serve to confuse tourists – central Amsterdam relies on a tram service, and look at how dazed and bewildered tourists there appear to be. Proposals have even been made to pedestrianise the whole street, forcing people to walk from one place to another. Is this really the direction civilisation should be taking – walking? What do these blithering idiots think fossil fuels are for? Do we really want to live in a place like Copenhagen where not only do people have to traipse about everywhere under their own steam, but, probably as a result of this, a pint of beer costs over £5? I certainly don’t. 

Copenhagen: shithole

And if Oxford Street is pedestrianised, would this spell the end for the London bus? How long would it be before the plague of walkists and pedalists spreads all over our city like a smug, muesli-fuelled, irritating rash? Moreover, the Tube would not be able to cope with all of the extra commuters as, despite moves to modernise the service, it can take quite some time to replace aging equipment.  Driving into the city on the few non-pedestrianised roads would not be an option either, as commuters would have to pay the daily £10 congestion charge. £10! You could almost buy two pints in Copenhagen for that. I suppose you could spread the cost by car sharing, but if you are the kind of person that has worked hard in the same sales job for twelve years in order to be able to drive around in a BMW X5 the last thing you want is a lift to work from some admin oik in their 1997 lime green Nissan Micra. No, you are much better off on a bus where people can see you conspicuously stabbing away at your ipad. And there are not nearly enough black cabs or right-wing opinions within them to go around everyone that works in the city. If Londoners were forced to rely on the black cab service commuters would have to queue for hours for their cab home and explanation of why the border control system has put this country up shit creek. 

Oxford Street: if it ain’t broke…

So come on London, support your local bus network before it’s too late. With doubts being cast over Oxford Street’s need for buses, the cracks are beginning to show elsewhere, and it’s causing absolute chaos.

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