What the Local Papers said

The Caterham Mirror

Thursday 9th September 1999

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Travellers bid final farewell to 'happy bus'

When a group of Caterham bus travellers heard their weekly route to kent was to be axed they thought they would give the service a proper farewell.

Not only did the band of bus users hold a special service on the last ever bus to follow the route.

But a wreath was mounted on the front of the bus and a specially written memorial poem was read aloud.

The group of unhappy travellers were moved to such action after adopting the route of the 411 Caterham to Tunbridge Wells bus as their own.

The group regularly takes the weekly service on a Wednesday for shopping trips to Kent.

One of the group, Alan Edwards, from The Court in Warlingham, even has a website devoted to the bus route containing photographs of landmarks and countryside along the way.

Mr Edwards wrote and read out the special memorial poem on September 1st the last bus run of the service which has been running since 1921.

He said : "We have been meeting weekly since 1996. We all met on the bus and became friends. "At Easter we give out hot cross buns and at Christmas we hand round cake and put up decorations. We call it the happy bus.

"The bus drivers know us well and they are sorry to see the service go as well.

"It will no longer be possible to travel to Tunbridge Wells without a lengthy detour and change of buses at either Oxted (57 minutes wait) or at Godstone (40 minutes wait), but it won't be the same and it won't be our bus."

Not all is lost however for the group has not totally disbanded and four hardened travellers, including Mr Edwards, are determined to continue the tradition and will be picking a different destination each week.

"This Wednesday I think we are going to try Crawley" said Mr Edwards.

"When something like this goes you don't get it back.

"It would have been nice for the bus company to thank us for our support. I worked it out that I have spent more than 720 on bus fares on our Wednesday outings since we started."

The poem is available for viewing, if you haven't read it already, at 411ode.html