For the uninitiated

Coming from the Third World, I find London’s transportation system to be first class. The locals are less enthusiastic, though, as their expectations are so much higher.

There are double-decker and single-decker buses. This one is typical of the latter. Door at the front to get on, door in the middle to get off. Hardly anyone pays with cash. Young and old travel for free (using “bus passes”), while nearly everyone else buys an Oyster card, a cut-price piece of electronic plastic. You touch the card against a machine next to the driver when you get on and “top it up” (pay for more travel in advance ) at any number of shops. You can travel any distance on the bus for one “swipe” with the card.

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There is space for wheelchairs and pushchairs (the buses are very low to the ground to permit access). The lighted screen on the right at the front tells you where you are and when the bus is going to stop. A recorded voice also tells you where you are and the name of the next stop.

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