So last week, as a reward for finishing an essay early, I decided to head into Central London, mainly to visit Harrods and Carnaby Street. A number of weird things happened, including the usually on time slow train being late, and a salesgirl at Harrods pulling me aside to curl one strand of my hair and try to sell me the iron for 100 pounds. (In her defense, I was wearing my red blazer with fancy buttons along with my very expensive (But very fake, it was 16 pounds) pin from Hampton Court, so I guess I looked like I could afford it), but the weirdest thing that happened that day was the journey home.
I probably should have had it in my head that 4:30 in the evening, especially on Fridays, is commuter hell. Since I was craving KFC for dinner that day, my first destination back was Twickenham instead of school, and the best way there would be a fast SWR from Waterloo. However, taking into account the delays from earlier, I decided on an alternative route. I'd just take the Piccadilly line to Hammersmith and catch the 33 bus from there. What I should have done was switch there to the District Line to Richmond and saved about 45 minutes, but instead, this was what happened.
I managed to find the nearest bus stop, but there were a lot of people there already. I didn't think too much of it, maybe 5 or 6 different buses stopped there, and because it was near the start of the line, I thought I'd beat the rush and at least would have gotten a seat in the back. Boy was I wrong. When I got on, I couldn't even make it to the back, there were already so many people standing. And there was the traffic... It took 5-10 minutes just to go between stops, and for a while, people just kept getting on, and soon there were so many that people began volunteering to get off just so more could get on. I soon ended up near the middle where there seemed to be more room, but still... All I wanted was something to eat, and I just had to make a poor public transport decision. It was maybe at North Sheen or Eton Street where people started to make a max exodus from the bus, either because it was actually their stop, or they got tired of it and wanted to take their chances with the train. Somewhere in Richmond, the traffic also started letting up, and I ended up getting to my stop, York Street, in one piece and managed to get some food.
Moral of the story? In London, when it's peak traffic hours, just take the train. Maybe it's also crowded, but there's usually more room, it's not stuck on the road, and it's typically a smoother ride.
And even all of that was still less stressful than getting behind the wheel of a car.