Hailing a London bus at a request stop by holding out
the left arm. A detail from a photo in the London Transport Museum.
There were two types of bus stop.
The sign for one had a white background,
and buses always stopped there.
The sign for the other had a red background
and was marked as a 'request' stop. Buses only stopped there if a passenger inside
the bus rang the bell or if someone at the
request stop held out his or her arm.
Waiting at a bus stop was frustrating because there was no way of knowing
how long the wait would be. It was rare for a timetable to be posted up, and
timetables were unreliable anyway. In all but the warmest of weathers, waiting
was also a chilly business because bus stops were located in prominent positions
so that they could be seen. This meant that the wind caught them. Shelters were
rare and, if they did exist, they were open at the sides or bottoms, presumably
to prevent litter collecting. So feet got very cold in winter. Or perhaps the problem
was with the shoes that we wore.
waiting for a bus at a bus station / terminus
As the buses had no doors, there was nothing to stop us waiting inside a
bus at a bus station.
As Edgware, where I lived, was a terminus for the buses in the area, at
least the waits for our outward journeys were out of the wind.