It is somewhere past midnight on Friday night. I have had dinner with some friends and am heading back to Victoria Station.
A friend phones. "Where are you?"
"On the number 38."
"Is it bendy?"
"Hijack it and don't get off for four years."
This is not a party political thing. It's just I once fell off the back of a moving Routemaster and only survived because a passing Australian bloke pulled me out of the road before anything hit me.
I know I am a drama queen. As a benchmark for how dramatic this was, everyone screamed, not just me.
At some point recently Boris Johnson said his first act as London Mayor would be to bring back Routemasters
. If you read his Transport Policy
- 'The Freedom Pass will be protected as an untouchable right for London pensioners.' Thanks Boris, any word on disableds having that same untouchable right? - you'll see that he reckons he can design a Routemaster with 'full disabled access' which is interesting because any moving vehicle you enter via a rear entrance which doesn't close securely is always going to be less accessible and more dangerous than one with a front entrance that does.
Now, the basic definition of a Routemaster is generally 'a front engined, rear open platform bus' and a rear open platform can never be made accessible to me. Full stop.
Even if they manage to add an alternative entrance, there'd always be a chance that I'd end up near the platform without meaning to, wobble, and fall off.
So any Routemaster is - by definition - inaccessible to me.
I don't mind that there's still some Heritage routes
for spods who want that special Routemaster feeling. Objecting to that would be like me objecting to not being able to climb the Eiffel Tower, but London's a living, working city which I'd very much like to be able to live and work in.
I don't even think Bendy Buses are much good. I've got mates who are cyclists who I'd like to see live to old age.
It's just I do like being able to get around London and if the Routemasters come back - in whatever form - I won't be able to do so.
I suppose there's always a chance he won't deliver on his election promises.