The four most dreaded words in the English language: this bus terminates here.
It's a phrase familiar to those who travel on the 36 bus bound for New Cross Gate — a bus which always seems to terminate one stop early, never quite making it to New Cross Gate station itself.
At first, we thought we were simply unlucky with the 36s we were catching. But then we kept getting chucked off. And then we realised something...
The 36 bus actually terminates at New Cross Bus Garage
That's right — New Cross Bus Garage is where the 36 calls it quits. Here's a screenshot of the official route:
TfL explained to us that the 'New Cross Gate' displayed on the bus blinds relates to the AREA, not the train station. Technically sound we guess, but it does stick in the craw of unsuspecting passengers happily 'heading' to New Cross Gate station, only to be tipped out a frustrating 325-odd metres short.
At that awkward distance, you might choose to wait for the next bus, rather than schlep. But if the next bus happens to be another 36 (and it often is) your misery is compounded. And even when you spot a 436 on the horizon, there could be trouble ahead...
The 436 bus doesn't always go to New Cross Gate station either
The confusion continues. We've also been on 436 buses New Cross Gate-bound, only to be chucked off at New Cross Bus Garage yet again.
In this case, it would seem we WERE unlucky. To some extent anyway. Officially the 436 travels from Battersea Park station to Lewisham centre. However. There are times when the 436 is forced to curtail its route early — owing to bad traffic, road accidents, etc. And New Cross Gate Bus Garage is a handy place to make the stop.
Early termination of the 436 is not an altogether rare occurrence. TfL revealed to us that during the last month* the 436 bus ended its journey at New Cross Bus Garage (rather than Lewisham), during six different days.
OK, so it's tough cheese if your 436 doesn't make it to New Cross Gate bus station, but surely there IS something that can be done to make the 36's final destination clearer. Guys, take heed of the mighty 171's bus blinds:
*This article was published mid-September 2018