My first Megabus drive was from Winchester to London leaving at 07:10, traffic on the motorway was, as always at this time, pretty busy but I managed to keep on time as far as Hogarth roundabout. Then, after crossing the Hammersmith flyover, a decision has to be made; go down Earls Court and then along the Embankment, or straight ahead through Knightsbridge to Victoria. Usually I get a gut feeling about which will be best but today nothing. Oh well, lets take Earls Court. And then I crawled all the way to Victoria getting in about 15 minutes late.
Took a 45 minute break and then drove London to Brighton. This was the best trip of the day because no one wanted the Sussex University stop at Falmer so I could stay on the A23 and go straight into Brighton. The result of this was an arrival 35 minutes early! However, this windfall was soon whittled away. An extended family were on the bus and as soon as I pulled up at the Coach station in Brighton they began using the toilet on the coach! Each took about 3 minutes in there and after 4 of them had used up 12 minutes of what I now considered my time I politely suggested they seek alternative facilities because I’d like to go for my lunch!
The return to London deaprture time is 13:40 but a small group were hovering at the front of the bus well before then. I started to load at about 13:25 and those who were already there were on and seated by 13:30 so I just sat in my seat observing all around :-) There were a couple of young men chatting and smoking near the front of the bus, a girl passed who they seemed to know so a chat ensued. At 13:40 I had my finger on the door close button when the young guys made a move onto the bus. They stood in front of me and said “We’ve got a problem we can’t find our ticket/reference numbers”. I nearly exploded (but didn’t) they wait until 2 seconds before departure time having been at the bus at least 10 minutes before departure! My words to them were “I’m sorry, normally I’d call our control office for you and get the ticket numbers tracked. This would take around 5 minutes to sort. But you’ve stood in front of the bus until 2 seconds before it’s due to leave and now tell me. That’s just not being fair on all the passengers who’ve already boarded and expect to leave on time. If you told me about the problem earlier I’d have sorted it for you but now it’s too late to do that”. They got off the bus mumbling about me being a miserable old fart!
The route back to London is up the M23, join the M25 clockwise at Jct 8 go to Jct 10 and then join the A3 to get into London. As I got near the M25 the matrix signs stated saying ‘Long delays on M25 Jct 7-9′ and then the traffic stated to queue on the M23 slip road the M25. So route ‘B’ it had to be; cross the M25 staying on the M23 and then continue when it becomes the A23. It means you have to go through about 16 miles of dense conurbation starting with Croydon and ending with Brixton and Stockwell before you cross the Thames. These 16 miles took 1 hour 30 minutes.
I still had to do the London back to Winchester trip. Again the traffic was grim and I arrived 25 minutes late in Winchester.