It was in 1966 that the first Red Arrow route began from Waterloo Station. From memory (as unreliable as ever!) It ran a route for commuters at peak times and a revised route for shoppers inter-peak.
fbb remembers excitedly clutching his tanner (sixpence, two and a half new pence in the new dispensation) and pushing his coin in the huge pay box and turnstile combo that London Transport perceived was needed for speedy loading.
It was neither speedy nor reliable!
From this somewhat hesitant beginning, Red Arrows expanded substantially …
… although not all the routes operated at any one time and some were not Red Arrow!
Over several years the network has been progressively reduced and the Red Arrow brand dropped completely. Today there are just two ex Red Arrow services left.
And Now …
Tomorrow here will be none!
If you live in or near the Metropolis you can nip out today and ride the 507 and the 521.
The 507 links Waterloo with Victoria via Horseferry Road, Lambeth Bridge and Lambeth Palace Road. Frequency is every 7/8 Monday to Friday and every 12 on Saturday and Sunday.
The 521 runs from Waterloo to London Bridge via Holborn.
This is very much a poor relation, running every 10 minutes Monday to Friday only.
So why are these being withdrawn? Transport for London is anxious to tell us that it is to save money in Central London and re-invest it in the suburbs with better services like the well-thought-out (??) Superloop proposals.
But, as always this change has been the subject of consultation which seems to be a growth industry these days.
The 507 and 521 withdrawal is part of a significant re-jig of routes in Central London.
Do we assume, therefore, that a high percentage of the passengers on the 507 and 521 have all enthusiastically voted for the withdrawal of their service?
Or is the “consultation” just another heap of statistics to ignore and thus do what TfL wanted anyway?
Explanation of the whole raft of changes is lengthy and expressed in long-hand. There are a few maps dotted around as here for the revised C10 in the Waterloo area …
… and for services along part of the Edgware Road.
But, mostly, all you get is diagrams of stop locations which have been changed or are needed for a change of bus to complete a now-withdrawn link. There are a lot of withdrawn links!
But, for the deceased 507 and 521 there is just a textual long-winded description.
Here’s the 507:-
And the 521:-
Surely it would be so much easier with a proper map?
With such a big change, one difficulty is to get the information on the bus stops in good time. There are the modern version of “E Plates” to stick on; plus “direction” information. Then there are the so-called timetables in the bus stop frames.
Correspondent Katie was excited to spot changes on Marsham Street at least 5 days before the change!
At first she was all for a chocolate peanut award to TfL for the service 3 sticker …
… but then withdrew the recommendation when she noticed that it still said “towards Waterloo”. Katie did suggest just a chocolate-less peanut for the service 3 label but the awarding committee felt disinclined to dip into their reserves for only a half-hearted effort. Half a peanut?
It is anybody’s guess where the 3 does go after Marsham Street – TfL does not tell us and there is no map. so tough cheese if you are not familiar with the geography of these ill-explained changes!
Public Transport is so good in London that the Metro Mayors “up north” all want to be as good. Pity their ill- informed residents!