diamond geezer posted on May 20, 2018:
“The 521 is London’s most frequent bus service. Paradoxically, it doesn’t run at weekends. The 521 is a true oddity, the commuters’ friend, and exists because it’s a lot cheaper than digging a new tube line. It crosses the Thames twice to connect two rail termini to places of work around Holborn and the City. It would be quicker to walk from one end to the other than to take the bus, not that any regular passenger would ever dream of riding all the way. So I did.
Never let it be said that queueing is dead. Visit the bus stops along the flank of Waterloo in the morning peak and you’ll find several, two of which are for the 521. One aligns with the front doors and another with the centre, each with its own shelter in case the weather is inclement. As one bus vanishes the queues build up again, ready for double boarding, as the next vehicle lines up round the corner ready to take its place. Between half past seven and half past nine the 521 sets off every two minutes… as it’ll do again between half past four and half past six, except then there’ll be hardly anybody here waiting…”
The 521 also has an official title of Red Arrow, and an unofficial one of “the conveyor belt”.
This morning I heard a variation (in the suburbs) on the “thank you, Driver” particularly common among older passengers. Two men, fortyish, prepare to step off the bus into the wind and rain. The first calls: “Cheers Drive, top man.” His friend echoes, “Cheers, Drive!”.