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Avoid the Original Bus Tour in London

We followed Rick's 3 week England tour and it was lovely, except for his recommendation for the Hop on Hop off Original Bus Tour in London. We were recently in London (June 2014) and spent 106 pounds on a 48 hour original bus pass. We were very unhappy. First, we were told there would be a live narrator, but found out later it was only on the yellow bus. Second, we waited over a half an hour for a yellow bus, which never showed, so we wasted over an hour on the red bus trying to get to our destination. Later we switched to the blue bus, but again, had to wait over a half an hour. When we tried to take the blue bus home, which we were told would be there at 6:30 pm, it never showed up and we had to take a taxi. Lastly, we were given an old map (we couldn't find a new one) where the bus stops were not even accurate. We walked quite a long way and waited a long time before we asked the Big Bus person about the stop, and he told us it was no longer a stop. All in all, we wasted A LOT of valuable vacation time waiting for VERY expensive late/non-existent buses. After a day and a half of frustrating bus travel, we skipped the bus and just took the subway for the remainder of our trip.

Posted by
592 posts

Were the views better on the tube, and did you get a live commentary?

Posted by
3 posts

What a snarky response! I was just informing others of the disappointing, stressful experience we had. We had my 3 children 6, 9, and 11 as well as my 78 yr old mother, and it was very difficult for them. At least with the tube, you knew where you were going, where you get on, and when it would be there.

Posted by
4685 posts

I would never trust HOHO buses as a main method of transportation. Their frequency is never going to be high enough if you are using it to go between places, and with London prone to get stuck in traffic somewhere enroute.

Looking at the details this company offers three walking tours and a Thames cruise as part of the day which would be the value in it for me, although this sounds like making it a packed day. Maybe go round the narrated route once.

Not that I am personally tempted by HOHOs in London any way where you can get the views from regular buses. Try the 9, 11, 14 and 15. These bus routes have been the same give or take a turn or two in the central area for over 100 years with reason.

Posted by
3 posts

Yes, I understand that now. We just wanted to get our moneys worth, since for a 24 hour pass for a family of 5 we spent 86 pounds, $147.57!! Too much for a 2 hour recorded commentary and a 20 minute boat ride. We were never told about the walking tours.

Kristi....thank you for the info on the Original Bus Tour. I will keep this in mind when making our arrangements.

Bob.....guessing they didn't miss the view or the guides narration, since the bus never showed.

Posted by
4685 posts

Having dug out the timetable, the blue bus at 18:30 only runs at a weekend. Of course it might have been a weekend ...

The other main problem with these services is the rerouting round street events in London, which can be almost any day in the summer.

Posted by
9110 posts

HoHo buses suck for transportation.

They run one direction in a circle that takes a goodly amount of time. Needing to go the other way is problematic.

Getting somewhere that's not near a stop is hard.

They're mostly only good for a one-shot overview tour -- and aren't the best way of doing that.

Posted by
8401 posts

I'm glad you took the time and made the effort to post this since you said this bus company was recommended by RS. Perhaps you'll save a few people some money and trouble. Snarky is such an appropriate word to use.

Posted by
8289 posts

kristi, good of you to post this so others won't make the same mistake. I love HOHO buses but definitely not for transportation, only for a one-time entire circuit overview of where I am.