How Reliable Are London Buses?

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lxfe_mxtterz

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Hi all.

I am required to be at Broadley Common (near Harlow) before 11 am on Saturday 29 May.

As part of a longer prior journey, I am planning to travel from Trafalgar Square to Waltham Cross by London bus and then walk to Waltham Abbey to catch the somewhat infrequent Trustybus 505 to Broadley Common.

I absolutely cannot miss the 505, so my question is how reliable are London buses? Would it be safe to trust TfL's journey planner to get there on time or am I better off forking out for a (presumably safer) train to Waltham Cross instead?

As an aside, last time I made this journey, the 505 ran all the way down to Chingford (much more convenient), so I caught the London Overground and boarded there instead. Waltham Abbey doesn't have a station and a train to Waltham Cross (still featuring a walk afterwards) appears to be even more expensive. So is it likely that the 505 will return running to Chingford any time soon?

Obviously, I expect the London bus to be cheapest option, but if anybody is able to offer alternative routes which aren't too expensive and are reliable, then I'd be very grateful for that.

Many thanks for all advice in advance. :)
 
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Hadders

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Personally for a journey of that length I'd get the train, especially if you have a reasonably tight connection between Waltham Cross and Waltham Abbey. It's a long way by bus and the biggest factor will be the level of traffic.

You could consider the train to Enfield Lock which is a bit cheaper than Waltham Cross as it's in Zone 6 and walk to Waltham Abbey along the River Lea or through Gunpowder Park. The walk would take around 40 minutes.
 

lxfe_mxtterz

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Personally for a journey of that length I'd get the train, especially if you have a reasonably tight connection between Waltham Cross and Waltham Abbey. It's a long way by bus and the biggest factor will be the level of traffic.

You could consider the train to Enfield Lock which is a bit cheaper than Waltham Cross as it's in Zone 6 and walk to Waltham Abbey along the River Lea or through Gunpowder Park. The walk would take around 40 minutes.
Thanks very much for that. I'll have a look!
 

317 forever

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The simplest way by bus from Trafalgar Square to Waltham Cross is by routes 29 & 279, changing at Manor House. Both are run by Arriva, usually Volvo B5LH & Enviro 400 respectively.
 

higthomas

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I've not looked at the price, but Theobald's Grove (London Overground) Station is not very far away.
 

deltic

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Road traffic in London, outside the congestion charge area, which most of your trip is, has got steadily worse as Covid restrictions have been lifted but people are still avoiding public transport, ie its worse than pre-Covid in many places. In addition concerted efforts have been made to close off rat runs as part of the move toward low traffic neighbourhoods which has pushed more traffic on main roads ie bus routes and some bus lanes have been lost as temporary pavement widenings have been put in place for social distancing. While you will be travelling early on Saturday when traffic levels should not be to bad I would build in some contingency time into your itinerary.
 

Hadders

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Theobalds Grove and Waltham Cross station are both in Zone 7 but Waltham Cross is much closer to Waltham Abbey, which is where the OP needs to get to to catch their onwards bus.

The cheapest way will be to travel from Trafalgar Square to Waltham Cross by bus as this will cost £1.55 It takes about half an hour to walk from Waltham Cross to Waltham Abbey
Charing Cross to Waltham Cross by Underground and Greater Anglia costs £4.20. The walk from Waltham Cross to Waltham Abbey takes about half an hour
Charing Cross to Enfield Lock (Zone 6) by Underground and Greater Anglia costs £3.30. The walk from Enfield Lock to Waltham Abbey via the River Lea or Gunpowder Park takes about 40 minutes.

If travelling by train then I'd get the Bakerloo from Charing Cross to Oxford Circus, then the Victoria Line to Tottenham Hale and Greater Anglia to either Enfield Lock or Waltham Cross.
 

lxfe_mxtterz

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Thanks to all who have responded - very helpful.
Charing Cross to Waltham Cross by Underground and Greater Anglia costs £4.20. The walk from Waltham Cross to Waltham Abbey takes about half an hour
Charing Cross to Enfield Lock (Zone 6) by Underground and Greater Anglia costs £3.30. The walk from Enfield Lock to Waltham Abbey via the River Lea or Gunpowder Park takes about 40 minutes.
Those prices seem really reasonable, however my searches bring up £13.70 for a Charing Cross to Waltham Cross return (£9.70 single), and £19.50(!) for a Charing Cross to Enfield Lock return (£11.00 single). I expect I'm doing something wrong here?
 

Hadders

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The fares I’ve quoted are off peak single fares using Contactless or Oyster.

I think you’re looking at the price of paper fares which are generally more expensive.
 

lxfe_mxtterz

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The fares I’ve quoted are off peak single fares using Contactless or Oyster.

I think you’re looking at the price of paper fares which are generally more expensive.
Ah, that makes sense. Thank you. :)

Although, I'll admit I didn't actually know contactless could be used on the Underground (I thought it was a bus thing only! :oops:)
 

Hadders

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Ah, that makes sense. Thank you. :)

Although, I'll admit I didn't actually know contactless could be used on the Underground (I thought it was a bus thing only! :oops:)
Contactless can be used throughout London on buses, Underground and National Rail. It’s how the vast majority of passengers pay for their fares.

Just tap in on the barriers and tap out at the end and the system calculates the fare and charges your card.

If making a journey like Charing Cross to Waltham Cross means you exit the Underground at one set of barriers and re-enter at another (e.g. at Tottenham Hale) then the system joins the journeys together so you pay the through fare.
 
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