Can anyone explain the Hail & Ride etiquette to me? I feel like I’m constantly breaking some kind of unwritten rule that everyone knows about except me, committing the public transport equivalent of drinking the water in your finger bowl…
The TFL website said that Hail & Ride (as the name implies!) can be flagged down or requested to stop at any safe point along the route. Yet most drivers seem to operate as if there are definite stops (eg. by the gate to the baseball field on Endymion Road, the postbox opposite Hornsey Library etc.) even though these are completely unmarked. I’ve been told off for trying to hail the bus at other points along the route and sometimes it hasn’t stopped at all. If you ring the bell whilst on board it usually carries on to whichever of these invisible-to-the-naked-eye stops is next.
Except the other day I pressed the button, expecting this to happen and the driver stopped immediately and said “are you getting off then?” It’s so confusing! Any insight appreciated…
It sounds as if you've used the W5 bus from Sainsbury's. Despite TfL's assertion you can 'get off at any safe point', their own route information [link] lists the standard calling points on the Hail & Ride sections:
Endymion Rd [by Green Lanes, they should add]; Finsbury Park Endymion Gate, Finsbury Park Hornsey Gate, and so on. They are the round dots on the route map below (less a couple that don't show up, like the 'stop' at the south end of Oakfield Rd).
In practice, 'any safe point' has evolved into something more formal, though without physical markers. Almost Masonic. I enjoyed the finger bowl analogy.
Interesting. Thanks. I hadn't seen this specific route info. I note Google Maps recognises those stops too. Maybe time for TfL to install some markers...
I share your pain. Our business is based in Edmonton (in the process of moving to Walthamstow, in part because of the arcane lore of the hail & ride) and people sometimes visit on the 192. Apparently the etiquette with that bus is that it only stops at the places where there used to be formal bus stops. Obvs...
This is exactly the kind of semi-arcane mystic bus lore that infuriates me. Either have stops or don't but make it clear!
When I first used the W5 (when I lived on Denton Road in 2013) - the displays/announcements merely said "hail and ride section [starts/ends here]" - nowadays they actually name the stopping place, e.g. "hail and ride, Weston Park"
For what it's worth, even back then, the W5 used to stop right outside my door on Denton Road on the way up to Harringay Station (which technically isn't a hail and ride stop - it's a bus stop in the middle of a H&R section, but remains unmarked).
Like you I am not convinced there's a coherent strategy! I had one occasion of a driver not stopping at the informal stop and dropping me off 200 yards up the road which curiously WASN'T one. Bizarre.
The same "this isn't a stop. But it is" situation exists on the western H&R section between Shepherds Hill and Highgate Hill
I often see bewildered folk waving at the W5 as it sails by. Honestly, if it only going to stop at certain places put signs up then everyone will know!
Yes! aka bus stops.
And sometimes they (who are "they" - TfL or a Borough) do provide stop information, Michael and all. I wish it were the case locally.
The somewhat blurry screengrab below from Google is on Wellington Road in Bush Hill Park, Enfield, at an official/unofficial stop for the 377 bus (runs much less frequently than the W5). [I knew it well, it's outside my mother's nursing home]. As you can perhaps gather, it carries a local map and even an outline timetable, and it's on a deliberately placed independent pole, not an adventitious lamp post.
To be clear, this is on a hail and ride section of the 377's route. I think it's TfL's doing - the yellow label on the pole matches coding seen on regular bus stops.
Thanks all! I feel heartened that it's not just me frustrated by the opacity of the scheme. It seems there are semi formal stops (albeit unlabelled) but that it's up to the individual driver's whim as to whether they observe them...
I live in Archway and when I want to get to Harringay Green Lanes I have to take the W5.
On Wednesday 4th August 2021 the driver of the W5 didn't wait for a lady to sit down he drove off and the woman was left sprawled out on the floor of the W5 when I pulled up the driver he had absolute no care as I exited the W5 I said to the driver the W5 is on my route when he sees me driver off or refuse to allow me on.
This driver of the W5 was a total maniac who had no consideration for his passengers.
I think it needs looking at - there is no correspondence between the stops that are being used and available information. Haringey helpfully put some benches along the route but, not in the right places. The W5 claims to stop at Mayfield Road on the way to Archway but it actually stops at the east side of Inderwick Road, the council put the helpful bench on the west side of Inderwick Road so for fear of missing the bus the elderly queue on the east side rather than use the bench on the west and risk not being considered part of the queue. When the bus is on diversion (as it often is with the many roadworks thanks to Thames Water) you had no chance because the notice concerning the diversion was placed by the bench on the west side of Inderwick and so couldn't be seen by the crowd patiently queueing on the east side of the road...