How Oyster Cards can leave you stranded

London has banned cash fares in buses. Last night I left my purse on the bus not realising I had until on the 2nd bus which left before I swiped my freedom pass (free travel card).

I asked the driver, who stared blankly ahead, if there was a way he could contact the other bus for my. He informed me that as the bus with my purse on was another company (same red double deckers) he couldnt. I’m glad it was a purse and not another bimb because he didnt even know how to contact TFL.

His advice was to get off and phone the list propwrty number at the bus stop. After travelling several dozen buses from Essex, the neighbouring county I started shouting ‘ And how do i get home? i have NO MONEY!’

I very kind girl gave me a fiver (more than I ever made busking). As I was crying. It suddenly occurred to me that without that fiver J had two options- to sleep rough in Whitehall until the Barclays in Charing Cross opened, despite no ID to draw out cash. Or I had a 5hr walk home nearly blind.

That five pound note was like a diamond ring….

Than I encountered the Oyster card con.

You see bus fares are £1.50 on an Oyster. Yay I thought, I’ve enough to get home and get to my nearest bank 5miles frim my flat in the morning. Only you need £5 just to buy the ugly bit of money sucking plastic.

How the heck can anyone justify the oyster card system?! To get one bus from kingston to roe 5miles i either get a £5 day ticket or a £5 oyster card i then have to put another £5 on it to use as the fare. FOR ONE BUS RIDE! i need 4 buses to uni so the day ticket would be good but nowhere sells them in Roehampton! You have to get a bus to go buy the frigging day pass! Everywhere else in the UK you pay for a journey, not the price of the paper then 3x the price of the fare. This is the biggest entrapping ripoff in the city.

So I walked the 4miles with a white cane because glare blinds me. It wasn’t exactly a Ray Meers episode but I heard the birds all the way and felt I had acheived a muni adventure by walking instead if sitting on my bum. Using a cane is a bit like hoovering or sweeping a hickey stick…..for 5miles.

For the return journey I did the disabled and stranded routine I was too exhausted to invent last night, and got a free ride home.

It’s made me realise though just how ludicrous the system of travelling around London is. They don’t consider the shopless, trainstationless suburbs where a woman might get stuck alone at night without a contactless payment card, wifi, ipad, phone battery and all the other digital gumf that seems ever more compulsory to urban existence.

In circus we used ti say you are only as good as your rigging. In the city you are only as good you network provider.

My network involved my lovely neighbour in the other corner of the block greeting me with warmth and pizza.


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