Wednesday 5 February 2014 9.37pm
At 5.15 pm today I was on the second leg of a bus journey home on a C10, when an interesting event occurred. I'd queued at Victoria for a long time. When I reached the stop no C10 arrival was even listed on the electronic sign for the first 10 minutes. It seems several C10s were bunched up at another stage of the route.
Soon after the packed-to-bursting bus crossed the river, the driver announced the vehicle would turn round at the Elephant & Castle. There were quite a number of Rotherhithe residents on the bus. One lady said she would refuse to get off at the Elephant, adding the bus company would have to call the police to remove her. She explained she'd already waited an hour at Victoria. If Abelio wanted to turf her out short of her destination, how long would she have to wait for another C10 with any space?
Within seconds other passengers voiced their support. Several said when they'd touched their Oyster cards the front of the bus said 'Canada Water', so that's where it should go, rather than returning to Victoria prematurely. One man who spoke several times emphasised it wasn't a personal attack on the driver, who was simply relaying an instruction from his management at the office.
It was noticeable during all this how no-one made a negative comment about the tube strike. The only time the dispute was mentioned, people said if tube staff can strike, so could bus passengers!
When the bus arrived at the E & C the driver turned a short distance round the corner, and pulled in near Eileen House. The bus then stood with the engine running while the driver left his cab to ring the office. The handful of people who got off were those whose journeys were complete.
I was only two stops from home. Having got up early this morning and had bus journeys and waits totalling almost 2-and-a-half hours to reach work, I wanted to get home and go to bed, with a view to leaving home earlier tomorrow. I explained to the other passengers I was torn for this reason - and would've preferred to stay, show support and see what happened. People laughed. As I got off I said I'd post news of the protest on social media, and gave a couple of people my mobile number, to stay in touch.
When I reached Harper Road
I received a text saying the bus company had given in, and the C10 was continuing its journey to Canada Water.
I tweeted a report of the protest (and it wasn't easy squeezing the facts of the story into 140 characters - see @lionelwright_ ) There are many interesting tweets on the strike, including a brilliant poster from underground workers describing the future for tube passengers if the cuts go through - see @sunny_hundal - and a public opinion survey which shows 65% of respondents in support of the union campaign to keep ticket offices open - see @RMTLondon