please empty your brain below

I'd love to know how many days a year the Woolwich ferry suffers a breakdown or limited service (and I quote BBC Breakfast travel news) "due to only one ferry in operation". I don't know if there's any other TfL service that gets away with such unreliability. I believe it's run by TfL Streets not TfL River - does this mean the route has a quasi road number too?
Oh, the driver changeover syndrome!

How often it happens. A brisk competent driver changes over to a complete gnome, who dawdles, catches every red light and stops for invisible passengers.

It's funny how we notice the poor changeover straightaway. But the changeover to a 'good' driver somehow doesn't get noticed in the same way.

Perhaps there is a mathematical formlua somewhere that can explain this syndrome.

And why don't the dawdlers get disciplined? We so often hear the message "This call is being recorded for training purposes". Well buses are equipped with cameras - why aren't they used 'for training purposes' ?
The very large fire station at East Ham was, until the mid-1960s, the HQ of the East Ham Fire Brigade when the area was an independent County Borough neither in Essex, Middlesex or London.
This journey brings back memories of regular monthly trips along much of this route well over 50 years ago. As a young research worker I had to visit an 'exposure' site we had at Beckton right next to the gas works and sewage plant.
We drove from the Watford area to join up with the North Circular round to East Ham. The air at the site was so polluted that it was an ideal place to leave our samples of various building materials and measure how quickly they corroded away.
Coming home we nearly always stopped for lunch at a Chinese cafe in East Ham High Street where we enjoyed a bowl of curry soup.
Oh how the area seems to have changed since then.
I'm reminded of my dad's story of how he and his brothers and mates were playing on the Woolwich ferry when a biplane appeared from down-river and dropped a few bombs. They rushed onto the 101 and the driver didn't stop until they got to Wanstead Flats. They were scared not so much of the bombs as of what their mum would do to them if they got themselves killed.

It's great walking down E H High St and calling in for some lovely Indian sweets (not the ones with cow's piss in though). Good cheap restaurants down there too.

Thanks for the ride DG, do keep them going.
Did you do the 474 for the last leg?

Assuming not, we have the final stats as
Route numbers sum to 602.
Total distance 33 miles (35 including the walk along Gunnersbury Avenue: you could have taken the No65 between Kew and Ealing, but then you'd have missed the North Korean embassy!)
Total time 170 minutes (210 including walk)
Average speed 11.6mph (10mph including the walk)
fastest bus - 123 (15mph)
slowest bus - 101 (9.6mph)
(the other three all averaged 12mph)
Oldest bus: 112 (51 reg)
Newest bus: 123 (63 reg)
Average age about 7.5yrs
80% double-decker

When are you going to do the South Circular?
If you do do the South Circular, the time of posting will be even more antisocial! Assuming, of course that you did it this week at 04:06 each morning, rather than having an override...
Thanks timbo for the usual analysis of "the numbers". Look forward to DG doing the South Circular, a truly horrific road/route. Loved this series of posts, bringing back many memories including telling my young children when we were crossing on the Woolwich ferry to South London we were going to the Isle of Wight!
SCR could be done, fairly faithfully, with nine buses and a few short walks to bridge busless gaps: 391 (walk), R68 (walk), 337, G1, 50, P13, 185, 160, 122.

The less purist could omit the R68 and two walks by diverting via Richmond.
More purists would use the 45/57 and 201 rather than detour into Streatham to change directly from the 50 to the P13, and would insert the 202 between the 185 and 160 to take the right road out of Catford.

Me? I'd take the train from Kew Bridge to Waterloo and change there for Woolwich
Come on DG, 12 buses is a nice day out.
The Bascule Bridge is the last little bit. Surely the view you talk of is from the Sir Steve Redgrave Bridge

dg writes: Indeed it is. Updated, thanks.
Something dg wouldn't have seen on his trip was "Veneer of the Week" which appeared on Shadbolt's factory on the NCR between Tottenham and Waterworks Corner. It may have been on the motorway only (non-bus) part, and the Shadbolt's business moved elsewhere some time ago, but how many reading this remember such an important landmark?
I assume the slower bus driver doesn't get disaplined as he is doing the job more correctly and reaching the timetabled points on time compared to the fast driver.
Just as striking as 'Veneer of the Week' is 'Protex Pest of the Week' which you can still see on the westbound carriageway of the NCR in Bounds Green, on the corner of Warwick Road. At the time the Google StreetView car went past it was the German Cockroach's week, but I have once seen 'Traffic Warden' as the company's chosen pest.
The slow driver won't be "disaplined" because most likely he or she has been instructed to take it easy to regulate the service.

DG, great work. If you do tackle the South Circular you'll almost pass my house. I'll come out and wave.

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