I travel between Angel and Waterloo on most days. Most of the time, I take the 341 bus, because it always seems quicker than the tube and it’s also a whole lot less fuss. The strange thing is though, when I’m running late, I choose to take the tube, because even though the bus feels quicker, my logic tells me that the tube must be quicker. So I put it to the test this morning.
First, some ground-rules: I always walk as fast as I can without running or being rude (no pushing people out the way). I walk up any moving escalator, and I know my route very well, I take the shortest route to each platform and take the first available train.
- 09:21: Arrive at Waterloo station. Check the bus will be at stop F in 1 minute – if I want to make it to the bus, I need to get there now, but today, I’m racing the bus instead of taking it.
- 09:24: I get down to the Waterloo & City line platform with a train ready and waiting for me.
- 09:29: Arrive at Bank station. At the point I begin to even wonder why I bothered – it all seems to be going quite quick. Unfortunately though, because I jumped straight on the train at Waterloo, I am right at the back of it, so have to fight my way through people to get to the Northern Line.
- 09:33: I get to the Northern Line platform and I can see the train coming into the platform. Timing has been great this morning for trains, because usually I end up waiting for a few minutes.
- 09:40: I arrive at Angel station and I am thinking that I am probably way ahead of the bus. Unfrotunately there is only one up escalator, so “traffic” is a bit heavy, but I still make it up in the end.
- 09:43: I walk out of Angel tube station and open up my app to check where the bus is. I look across the road and think “No! This only happens in movies and documentaries.” – I’m assuming this will be a different bus, but I check the registration number and it is – the bus beat me to Angel station!
The benefits of the bus far outweigh taking the tube every day. Firstly, I’ve just proved that it’s faster for me to get across central London by bus (obviously, there are many tube routes which are faster – possibly if I tried doing the same starting from Vauxhall, results would be different), I have mobile signal when I’m on the bus – the wifi access on the tube works, but only in stations and I couldn’t pick up any signal at Moorgate station. And then there’s all the stairs and walking, which might be good for some trying to stay healthy, but I really hate getting to work all sweaty and red in the face. And the bus has a view of London! That’s probably the best reason to take the bus.
The above experiment was done using bus times from the London Bus Pal application for Android. You can download it from the Google Play store here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mulder.buspal
Take the bus!