One of the ‘free’ newspapers that REALLY gets up my nose is The Londoner – a really rubbish collection of mayoral propaganda that does nothing except big-up stuff we either already know or just don’t need to hear. It truly annoys me that I indirectly pay for this extremely poor ‘journalism’ and blatent publicity machine (whether I support him or not is irrelevant – I would disapprove of this bloomin’ useless waste of trees and ink whoever the mayor was.)

But when it drops through the door alongside the other free newspapers I do always give it a brief flick-through in case there is ANYTHING worth knowing.

The headline today says that bus fares are going to be 10p cheaper. Initially I thought “oh goodie” – for about ten seconds. But the thing is, I don’t think we actually need to persuade people to use the buses any more – most are happy enough to give public transport a go. What we do need are a few more actual vehicles to take all the passengers who have been already converted to bus travel.

Take last night – pretty typical. I came out of North Greenwich Tube – not late – maybe 10.45/11.00pm. There were NO buses of any variety at any stops. Plenty of would-be passengers though all hanging about waiting for – well – any form of bus. Eventually a 108 bowled up, so I thought I’d get that and walk the rest of the way rather than waiting for anything more appropriate.

Trouble is, that’s exactly what everyone else had thought too. I didn’t expect to get a seat, but I DID hope to board the bus. Actually to be fair, I did manage to, just about, squeeze on, by asking people if they’d mind moving up a bit, which they did, albeit grudgingly. The guy drove like the clappers, ignoring red lights on the peninsula left, right and centre, though at least we couldn’t be thrown about too much as we were all packed so tightly.

I’m obviously not moaning at a drop in fares. But encouraging more people to use a bus that’s already too full seem crazy to me. Far better spend all those extra 10ps on a couple of extra buses, IMHO.

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