I got to the hospital just in time – no thanks to Sadiq Khan

Thursday, 5th May

Bus Problem_John Sadler

Illustration by John Sadler www.johnsadlerillustration.com 

• I HAD a hospital appointment at UCLH for 9.50am which required a journey of two consecutive buses to get there, No 31, then No 24.

Previously, when an appointment was given for an earlier time I had been charged £13.80p in a taxi ride for this four-mile journey!

I felt sure I could make this appointment by bus if I caught it at 9am. So I set out to bus stop (E) outside Swiss Cottage library on Friday April 29.

A 31 bus drew up as I arrived and I hopped on. The driver refused to have me on the bus as it was five minutes to 9am.

I explained to him, and showed him my hospital appointment letter, saying that if I waited for another bus I might not make it in time. He was adamant: “I can’t let you on.”

A young lady came to my defence and asked that he could have some consideration for “the old lady”. The driver then asked if she would pay for me. We both declined this absurd offer.

The argument brought the time to three minutes to 9am. The bus passengers were now getting restless (with the driver I’m glad to say).

He had switched his engine off in his determination to carry out the rule to the letter incapable of any empathy or a capacity to make a reasoned compromise by possibly offering me a seat on the bus until 9am when I could then, after a few minutes, tap in the pass.

He remained adamant until some men from the upper deck, who had heard the argument, came to tell him in no uncertain terms that he was making them late for work.

At one minute to 9am he thought better of the mood in the bus and switched his engine on to set off with his still “illegal” by one minute passenger.

I haven’t heard from Sadiq Khan to whom I’ve previously written to ask why we still have this restriction on our Freedom Passes? No one would travel in the rush hour if they had a choice.

My thanks to the passengers, in particular to the very determined young lady who spoke up for me. I did get to the appointment just in time, thanks to all of you.

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