Yesterday was the last night of bus 38
.The image has been highly compressed, click for a full quality picture
The last night of bus 38.
From sunday the 29 on, bus line 38, the most beautiful of London Bus routes
, will be operated by new bendy buses replacing the old Routemasters that have travelled the streets of London for more than 50 years.
So we stepped on a 38. It was past 10PM, at the gate of Hackney Central Bus Depot there were literally dozens of people gazing as shiny old buses left the station for a final trip through the London night. There was Simon, the conductor*, there were the girls with the funny crowns and the chapagne bottles, the entire upper deck was packed with happy people. People taking pictures, people drinking and laughing, people furiously cheering at other 38's passing by. Because yesterday there was nothing on London streets but 38's. They even got confused and followed routes that they were not supposed to. Pedestrians shouted and waved with their hands and a smile.
We were lucky, we travelled on a really old one. The man on the next seat claimed he had seen that bus on the factory line, in 1959!!, when the buses for London were actually made in London. I sat by another man who had driven that bus for 15 years. Last night London just showed off the oldest and most beautiful of the 38 breed.
We went all the way down to Tottenham Court Road, listening to the stories of the people, and to the music of the harmonica man. And there were more photos and laughs, and we took bus 38 again, back home, one last time and forever. There was Konrad, a guy who explained us how to lose the Roadmaster in London was like losing the Eiffel Tower in Paris (he introduced us to SavetheRoutemaster.com
, and there were the French who just didn't stop uncorking wine bottles. They had brought it white and red. One of them was phoning all his friends and inviting them to come along and take the last 38, he had already completed 4 journeys so far! At every stop we could hear the bell ringing twice,ring-ring
, before the whole thing shook a bit, trembled another bit and started running again, the old Routemaster. At the end of our route, the little yellow light bulbs (because that was an old Routemaster with lightbulbs on the walls) went on and off repeatedly, and we knew our time had come to leave bus 38 and let it go by, slowly, beautifully and forever.
*Conductor:(Cambridge Dictionary): The person on some buses whose job is to take your money and give you a ticket
. It's sad how some words just disappear.