The Old Routemaster Bus: risky nostalgic experience

THE Number 12 routemaster destined for Dulwich. As it pulled away from the bus stop, I’d run as if being chased by Freddy Krueger to catch it! Health and safety was non-existent when it came to catching the bus.

Pole Dancing?

Catching the routemaster was a good way to get the heart racing. As you spotted your target slowly pulling away from the bus stop, you’d burst into a sprint, jump onto the rear platform of the bus and grab the safety pole. Your momentum usually spun you around the safety pole (a bit like pole dancing) until you steadied yourself. You’d then climb the stairs, take a seat and enjoy the ride.

Getting off

Getting off required a bit more skill and judgement.

Instructions for getting off a Routemaster travelling at < 20 mph:

1. Stand on the rear entry/exit platform with one hand on the safety pole.

2. Ensure that you have enough clearance (enough runway space for landing).

3. Leap off as if you’re about to break into a sprint.

4. Once you’ve landed, your heels will be in close proximity to the back of your neck due to your momentum. This is perfectly normal.

5. Once your momentum has steadied, stride normally to your destination.

Swing no more

The days sprinting, jumping and swinging around the safety pole whilst catching the open-back routemasters are over. The old routemasters have been replaced with modern ones where the door slams in your face! Health and safety rules have taken over. A sprint and jump that ends with a perfectly timed leap of faith – the excitement of the old routemaster.

Enjoyed the blog? A nostalgic collection of blogs featuring a fun and factual look back at British advertising, leisure and entertainment from the 70s and 80s are featured in the new hardback book, Section N Underpass. Out now! Get the rundown  by clicking the front cover below:

2 thoughts on “The Old Routemaster Bus: risky nostalgic experience”

  1. Wow! What an incredibly lively description! I know that I would enjoy riding on the top of one of these. But not so sure I could handle the ‘dismount’ xoxo

    1. Thanks for your comment Lutheranliar 😀. Those Routemaster buses were fun and in fact many are hired for transporting guests to wedding receptions. I recently saw one being used as a bar which served drinks! In terms of getting off whilst in motion, all I can say is ‘practice makes perfect’. 😀

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