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THE NIGHT OUT TRAIN, TUBE AND BUS

INTEGRATED TRANSPORT

Hornsey to Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium

Evening

Although London has the most comprehensive public transport system in Britain, all the best transport links feed into the centre. As a result travel between the outer areas is often more complicated.

With that in mind I was dreading my journey from Hornsey, north London, to an evening greyhound meeting at Walthamstow Stadium. To my surprise, however, the journey was almost a model of seamlessness.

London Transport's telephone advice line initially told me that the best way across to Walthamstow was to get three different buses.

But after looking at the Tube and rail maps I chose to get the train south to Finsbury Park from Hornsey, on the assumption that it would be faster by train. From Finsbury Park I would pick up the Victoria line to Walthamstow Central where I would then switch to the bus.

At my starting point at Hornsey station I met my first real obstacle. Although it was early evening the ticket office was already closed. But by some stroke of luck the ticket machine on the platform was working and I had the correct change to buy a ticket to Walthamstow Central.

I caught the train at 19.11 and four minutes later arrived at Finsbury Park where I descended into the Tube. My next train arrived a minute later and by 19.32 I was in Walthamstow Central following signs to the bus station. At 19.42 I got on the 215 City Bus to the stadium, arriving 13 minutes later after a trouble free journey.

After steadily losing money on the dogs for two and a half hours my thoughts turned to home. With just enough cash left for my return journey I headed out of the stadium with 40 other downcast punters to find a bus waiting at the stop by the entrance.

All seemed promising, but 11 minutes later at Walthamstow Central I ran into the same problem I had experienced earlier. The ticket office was already closed and with no staff to be seen I had to fend off intimidating types offering to sell me 'cheap travel cards' to get to the ticket machines.

Unable to find Hornsey on the array of destination buttons I decided to buy a ticket for Wood Green, which is in the same fare zone. The ticket only cost £1.20 - half my outbound fare. After a five minute wait a Victoria Line train was heading for Finsbury Park where I had another four minutes to wait for the 11.02 to Hornsey.

As the train approached Hornsey I prepared to justify my half price fare. But I needn't have bothered - there were no staff at the ticket barrier to check.

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