These were introduced into London in 1829 by George Shilibeer, from whom they were for some time known as " shilibeers "; but this name was soon abandoned for that of omnibus, " a carry-all "- usually shortened to "bus." Until 1899 the vehicles were drawn by horses. In that year tentative experiments were made with motor omnibuses, and from 1905 the use of this class of vehicle became so general that the last horsed bus of the London General Omnibus Company made its final trip on October 25, 1911.
In 1926 buses with covered tops were introduced – a boon in inclement weather. Smoking is permitted only on upper decks of buses. The Company has since 19I2 been brought under the same management as the Underground Electric Railways, forming a huge concern which to a great extent controls the traffic of the metropolis. The omnibus fares are generally reckoned by penny stages (about a penny a mile is the average rate and a shilling or so covers the cost of a ride from one end of London to the other.
A slight idea of the magnitude of the traffic can be gained from the fact that in a recent year over 5,000 buses carried over 1,912 million passengers, while in one month the net mileage of London omnibuses exceeded seventeen millions. Put in another way, it may be said that every person in Greater London makes more than two hundred bus journeys a year. Over six million passengers have been carried in a single day, and the buses of the L.G.O.C. and their associated companies have run as many as 16 million miles in a month. The vehicles bear numbers indicative of the various routes, and boards in front and at the back display the names of the localities through which they run. Tables of fares are placed inside.
The visitor should make himself acquainted with the relative positions of the chief localities by reference to the maps, in order to guard against the possibility of mistaking the direction in which the vehicle is travelling. Interpreters are stationed at the principal route- intersections, such as Charring Cross.
Tramways extend outward from the City boundaries in all directions. Nearly all are owned and controlled by the London County Council. In the Council’s area alone there are over 150 miles of tramways in operation, and it is estimated that their cars carry the equivalent of the entire population of London more than 150 times in the course of a year. In Greater London the tramways carry over 1,000,000,000 persons a year.
In South London the principal routes are those from the Embankment over Blackfriars and Westminster Bridges to Camberwell Green New Cross Gate, Greenwich, Streatham, Tooting, etc. The underground tramway beneath Kingsway renders possible a "through south to north" route. The cars on the various routes bear distinguishing numbers, those on the southern section having even numbers, those on the northern section odd numbers.
Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. 2d. "all the way" is the rule for all distances beyond the penny stage. Ordinary fares must be paid on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Return tickets are also issued at a slight reduction; and daily tickets (1s.), available for an unlimited number of journeys on all the L.C.C. lines. Beyond the area of the London County Council are a number of other important and extensive systems of tramways.
The Railways of London
There are in the area known as Greater London upwards of 6oo passenger railway stations. The length of passenger lines in the same area is nearly 700 miles, more than the distance from London to Land’s End and back again. Of "tube" and other underground railway stations alone there are about ago. It is of interest to note that 6r6 million passengers were carried in a recent year on local railways in London, and even these stupendous figures are exclusive of the suburban traffic on main lines. The average number of journeys per head of the population of London is 510 per annum. The accompanying map shows all the Tube and other lines, and will repay careful study and constant consultation.
The railways of London are divisible into two groups – those which form the suburban sections of the great trunk lines, and the 120 miles of electrically driven and purely London railways which are run below street-level and are generally knowa as:
To the sightseer the Underground is chiefy of value for getting quickly to places at a distance; for short point-to-point journeys – unless on a direct line of route – and for seeing the streets themselves, a taxi or an omnibus are to be preferred. Although the journey times from station to station are short – Euston to Piccadilly Circus, for instance in 7 minutes – allowance must be made for the time spent in lifts and in traversing subways and stairs between the lifts and station platforms, such time on short journeys often equaling or even exceeding that actually spent in the trains.
But a "Tube"" journey is often a speedier mode of transit than even a taxi, on account of the congestion of the streets. Being under a single "control," the various lines can now almost be considered a single huge system, though the connections are not so convenient as might have been the case had the principle of co-operatioa been adopted from the outset. Through bookings are in operation on all the lines, so that from almost any station one may, by changing at the proper point or points, get to any other station, whether on the same system or not. Directions are usually given on the tickets as to the station, or stations, at which it is necessary to change, and the same information is conveyed by route outlines in the cars. This vast network of electric railways comprises two systems:
The District and the Metropolitan – which run only a short distance below ground the station platforms being reached from the street stairways – and five "Tubes" running at considerably greater depths and reached from the street by lifts or escalators (moving stairway). On all trains run at intervals of a few minutes, and there is only one class of carriage, except on the District and Metropolitan Railways, where first and third class carriages are run. To the stranger – and to many Londoners – the Underground Railways form a confusing network, and it will greatly aid the visitor if he can memorize the general directions of the various lines.
The lines are:
The Central London Tube
The District Railway
The Metropolitan Railway
The Hampstead and City and South London Tube
The Bakerloo Tube
The Piccadilly Tube
A NOTE FOR PEDESTRIANS
Visitors unused to the traffic of great towns are prone to be either careless or needlessly apprehensive in crossing busy streets. The best advice is: Keep a sharp look-out in all directions, especially where there are converging thoroughfares or turnings at right angles. Use a mid-street refuge wherever available and be especially careful if the roads are greasy.
Above all, do not get flurried. At some of the most crowded crossings, as at the Bank, Mansion House station, Trafalgar Square, the foot of Whitehall, the northern end of Blackfriar’s Bridge and the Elephant and Castle there are subways for pedestrians; and at all important centres policemen are stationed to regulate the traffic. The general rule is for vehicles to keep to the left, pedestrians to the right; but this rule is suspended in the case of vehicles using "one-way thoroughfares" (open to vehicular traffic in one direction only) and at the busy crossings where the gyratory or "roundabout" system of traffic control is in force. On such routes pedestrians should be particularly vigilant against oncoming traffic from an unexpected quarter, and should cross the road at the points indicated by signboards and road indications.
In walking the streets, do not on any account step off the pavement into the roadway without a cautious glance behind as well as in front. In all the principal thoroughfares are ambulance stations, or ambulance "calls" and the police are trained to render first aid.
In entering trams and motor-omnibuses, especially the latter, ‘hold firmly to the rail till you are either inside or safely on top. This is quite as important if the vehicle is stationary as if moving, for the jerk caused by a sudden start may send you headlong. Attempts to "board" buses in motion are attended with considerable risk.When desirious of alighting, ring the bell once for the driver to stop.