Tuesday 8 February 2022

Part 2 : London Buses 84 ...

 Viability Vagaries?

As is so often the case you can begin to gauge the viabilty of a bus route by the changes in route, frequency and ultimate destination. Thus it does look like the original "main road" 84 has had a touch of the tinkering timetablers, possibly to improve its financial performance.

We start on St Peters Street (St Alban's), some distance from the very centre of the City.
Stop 2 has a flag which just tells you the stop name (i.e. St Peters Street a name shared by a long string of stops) ...
... but there is a large number "2" on the glass of the shelter. There are no timetables but on offer is a the usual set of departure lists ...
... all muxed ip rather than being for each route separately. 84 shares the stop with Arriva 357 and Uno 602 - a sensible grouping as all three run via London Colney, of which more anon.
For the 84, there is a more central stop at the top of Victoria Street just after the left hander by the lovely Art Gallery and Museum building.
After this turn we are travelling eastwards (approx) and making for City Station. Except that for much of its life the 84 never made it to the station interchange stands, but turned right at the United Reform Church ...
... and ran via Alma Road to rejoin the obvious direct route.
For a while, there was an 84A which ran via Cell Barnes (see map above) and nowadays the 84s all go that way. Did the schedulers find that there were more passengers via the humbler dwellings on Cell Barnes Lane ...
... rather that the posher pads on London Road, all equipped with ample parking?
Uno's 602 runs via London Road.
London Colney was once an insignificant village on what became the A6, south of St Albans ...
Below is the bridge over the River Colne together with its collection of cottages ...
... some of which remain today.
But the road layout in this neck of the Hertfordshire woods has changed almost beyond recognition.
The A6 through the village is now relegated to a local "yellow" road and there is a by-pass ...
... numbered A1081 linking the A414 (GREEN) with the M25 (BLUE). The village has become a dormitory suburb. The main stop in the High Street ...
... shows that "village life" has long passed London Colney by. After all, it now has a "Retail Park"! This is mainly a mega-Sainsburys at which the Uno 602, Arriva 357 ...
... and Metroline 84 call to convey their passengers to/from London Colney's retail paradise.
South from London Colney, the road network has gone quite mad!
There used to be a nice RED A6 bumbling quite happily through nowhere in particular to South Mimms, a place name that really ought to have been a fictional location for a story in The Goon Show!

But look at it now!
The RED A6 has become the BROWN B556 and somebody has built an M25 BLUE where the A6 used to be. The same has happend with the A1 (map above, right).

Service 84 follows the B556 on to South Mimms. Certainly the South Mimms of service 84 is hardly a wonderful place, offering a few houses, a pub and a filling station ...
... and not a lot of custom for the 84! "Round the back" on the road to Ridge ...
is a pleasant little village, quaint even.
The Monday to Friday route 398 serves more of the village.
It is run by Sullivan Buses who have a depot at South Mimms ...
... just behind the Premier Inn ...
... where, a good many years ago, the fbbs spent a short holiday with the three boys. Yes, indeed, they had a very pleasant time at a Motorway Service area!
South Mimms village is upper left.

If the 84 IS withdrawn without replacement (more tomorrow) there will be no bus from Potters Bar to St Albans by a reasonably direct route.

We will run via Potters Bar tomorrow and review what Metroline have said by way of an announcement; also we look at the public reaction.

 Next 84 blog : Wednesday 9th February 


  1. We quite enjoy staying at motorway service stations and using them as a base to see an area. The South Mimms one is excellent for London (and very reasonable). I really would like to take a Baby Belling style cooker in to one. Ann Nonymous says that it would set the smoke alarm off.

  2. "We start on St Peters Street (St Alban's), some distance from the very centre of the City."
    Where is the centre of the city then, if it is not the street with the main retailers and which has been the bus terminus more or less since motor buses started running?
    And the issue with serving the station is revealed in the timetable - 8 minutes to cover 3/4 of a mile. Mind you, St Peter's St is widely reckoned to be one of the worst sources of congestion in the whole of the county.

  3. I lived in St Albans in the 80s. The 84 route then was in on London Rd all the way and then right into Chequer Street and St Peter's Street. That is staying on the old A6.

    Today the city centre route is a one way loop from the Station via the Hatfield Road, south on St Peter's Street and back to the station on Victoria Road.

    St Peter's street is the main street with the market. It has space for bus stands, bus shelters and queues where as the side streets don't. St Albans is an historic city centre with no big shops, but lots of visitors.

    The south side of London Road has very little housing; the railway ends it with the golf course on the other side.

    London Road from the railway bridge into the centre is part of a road improvement scheme including a cutting and embankment to avoid the difficult turn from Old London Road out on to the steep St Albans Hill. The surprising fact is that this was built in the 1790's by Thomas Telford.

    The cross roads at the top of St Albans Hill with London Road, etc used to be both the A5 and A6 - they touched, but not crossed. It has always been busy.

    The A5 followed the Roman road Watling Street towards London and the A6 followed it north from St Albans. The preferred road from St Albans to London has moved several times over the centuries including the old A5 and A6.

    I have to admit that whilst I lived in St Albans I used most bus routes, but I cannot recall ever using the 84.

  4. I assume the reference to St. Albans Hill, is Holywell Hill (known to every local as hollywell) and the junction at the top as the Peahen Junction after the pub/hotel that stood at the London Road corner. Both notorious.

    There is always a problem around the metropolitan Green Belt where ex-London residents expect LRT services and instead get a hand to mouth existence. The politicians (and everyone else) like to pretend otherwise too, believe their own rhetoric and just make everything worse. Transport planning? They've never heard of it. Just daydreaming.

  5. I had pretty fond memories of the 84, which always seemed to come to my rescue when other services let me down. But I wouldn't use my own use, or not, as a guide to what is appropriate for other people. Perhaps I'm the one who needs to get a life!