Buses and hitchhiking

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Busaholic

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The idea for this thread came to me from reading the Green Line 797 thread responses.

Has anyone ever been hitchhiking and been picked up by a bus, whether in public service or not? It happened to me once, when I was a callow youth almost fifty years ago, in December 1966.

I had got friendly with someone who came from Liverpool, and we decided to 'hitch' there from London. A mid-morning start at the beginning of the M1 near what is now Brent Cross, joining a few others with the same idea, only got us a ride in the back of a bread van (the real thing, not a minibus!) to somewhere in the vicinity of Luton. We were walking along a country lane, feeling increasingly forlorn, when a bus pulled up alongside us and the driver asked us where we were going. On the reply 'Liverpool' he said something to the effect that he could get us a few miles nearer, and we hopped on. I had enough interest in buses, particularly London ones, to note it was a LT Country Area bus in green livery and was a one-man operated RF from (I think) Luton garage on route three hundred and sixty something (?). No money changed hands and we were duly deposited somewhere.

It wasn't the only bus journey of the trip. Having taken about 24 hours to get to the 'Pool, on the way back on the Sunday evening we caught a North Western (?) bus from Liverpool to Warrington. It was snowing and we managed to find a chip shop open. We got talking to a couple of girls and my friend was able to blag his Liverpool credentials and knowledge of the groups and clubs, like the Blue Angel we'd visited the previous evening. Anyway, things were going fine until I walked this girl home, whereupon her older brother came racing out of the house clutching a meat cleaver and, unathletic though I may have been, Bolt would not have beaten me over the few hundred yards before, fortunately, he lost sight of me. I forget the rest, but we did eventually make it back to London, unscathed. It was the last time I hitchhiked.

Anyone else?
 
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PeterC

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Never had a free ride on a bus in my hitch hiking days back in the 70s although I did invest a few shillings (or new pence after 71) sometimes if a bus in the right direction did turn up.

I did get a lift in a private hire coach once. I was stuck in Lampeter opposite a rugby club trying to get to Aberystwyth sometime around 11 on a Friday night. A group of people came out and after getting sworn at in Welsh somebody asked me where I was going and said I could come on the coach but they were going for a drink first. Closing time was 10:30 then so we went to the side door of a pub and knocked. The landlady nearly had a heart attack when I ordered a drink as I was the only person in the room not speaking Welsh.
 

randyrippley

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Was once asked by a driver on an evening bus-replacement service at Windermere if I knew the way to Lancaster and Preston.......I said "yes" and got a free ride to Lancaster. Saved me buying a ticket!
Bus and driver were both well out of their area - the bus came from the West Midlands, the driver from a different company in Leicestershire. It was in the days of the WCML upgrades for the Pendolini and they were using anything with anyone, anywhere
 

Busaholic

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Was once asked by a driver on an evening bus-replacement service at Windermere if I knew the way to Lancaster and Preston.......I said "yes" and got a free ride to Lancaster. Saved me buying a ticket!
Bus and driver were both well out of their area - the bus came from the West Midlands, the driver from a different company in Leicestershire. It was in the days of the WCML upgrades for the Pendolini and they were using anything with anyone, anywhere

I thought most rail replacement services were, in practice, ticket-selling and ticket-checking free zones:lol:
 

Shimbleshanks

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Not hitch-hiking but cycling 2-3 years ago in the Ide Hill area of Kent. I moved over to one side to let an empty bus get past. As he pulled alongside me the driver opened his doors and said: "Hop in, I'll take you to the top of the hill. I won't charge you."

Which he did, bike and all. I think he just wanted a chat.
 

Busaholic

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Not hitch-hiking but cycling 2-3 years ago in the Ide Hill area of Kent. I moved over to one side to let an empty bus get past. As he pulled alongside me the driver opened his doors and said: "Hop in, I'll take you to the top of the hill. I won't charge you."

Which he did, bike and all. I think he just wanted a chat.

I think that is a route operated by Go CoachHire. If it is, they do employ some drivers who've made the move from driving London buses in places like Bromley and Croydon, and prefer an easier life e.g. no evening, and little Sunday, work, though obviously less pay. They will consequently feel better disposed towards cyclists, and possibly mankind in general, than many London drivers!

It's great that somewhere like Ide Hill still gets a bus service - this part of Kent is amongst the wealthiest in the country, but of course there is always comparative poverty mixed in. I've never been to it on a bus - it used to be a 404 (I think) in LT green bus days, but as a kid my parents used to drive out there a couple of times a year for the bluebells and, later in the year, to pick blackberries. I daren't go back in case it has changed too much since those halcyon days..
 

Shimbleshanks

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I think that is a route operated by Go CoachHire. If it is, they do employ some drivers who've made the move from driving London buses in places like Bromley and Croydon, and prefer an easier life e.g. no evening, and little Sunday, work, though obviously less pay. They will consequently feel better disposed towards cyclists, and possibly mankind in general, than many London drivers!

It's great that somewhere like Ide Hill still gets a bus service - this part of Kent is amongst the wealthiest in the country, but of course there is always comparative poverty mixed in. I've never been to it on a bus - it used to be a 404 (I think) in LT green bus days, but as a kid my parents used to drive out there a couple of times a year for the bluebells and, later in the year, to pick blackberries. I daren't go back in case it has changed too much since those halcyon days..

I think maybe he was impressed by the fact that I pulled over to let him past rather than follow me for over a mile along a narrow country lane. Most of the lycra-louts wouldn't be so considerate. Not that he seemed to be in much of a hurry.

I doubt that you'll find the Ide Hill area has changed very much. Maybe not so many blackberries as the farmers tidy up their fields and get rid of the brambles but otherwise I'm sure you will find it pretty much the same as it was all those (OK, not so many years) ago.

Got the impression from talking to him that the route was reasonably busy during term time but as it was school holidays the bus was just carrying fresh air around.
 

Busaholic

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I doubt that you'll find the Ide Hill area has changed very much. Maybe not so many blackberries as the farmers tidy up their fields and get rid of the brambles but otherwise I'm sure you will find it pretty much the same as it was all those (OK, not so many years) ago.

No, it was all those years ago! I shall endeavour to revisit if I'm not too far away one spring or early autumn day. Might even get a timetable and fill a seat on that empty bus!
 
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