London's most ‘bizarre and infuriating’ transport quirks including a five-metre cycle lane and ‘labyrinth’ Tube station

15 April 2024, 15:04

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London's public transport network is vast and comprehensive, but not without its faults...
London's public transport network is vast and comprehensive, but not without its faults... Picture: Google Maps/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

If you've ever tried it, you'll know driving in London is difficult and expensive to say the least.

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Don't worry, London has a huge transport network, which includes nearly 20,000 bus stops, hundreds of Tube and train stations and more recently, a plethora of cycle lines.

While the network is undoubtedly vast and comprehensive, there are a few...questionable elements to it, too.

Here are some of London's most infuriating and bizarre transport spots.

Croydon's five-metre cycle lane

Croydon's five metre cycle lane is...interesting
Croydon's five metre cycle lane is...interesting. Picture: Google

Last week, the infamous Count Binface launched his manifesto to become the Mayor of London.

Among some real corkers, including renaming London Bridge to Phoebe Waller, Count Binface suggested that a certain cycle lane get World Heritage Status.

That cycle lane is in Croydon - and it's just five metres long.

Social media users understandably thought Count Binface was joking, but he wasn't. It actually exists.

Can you see into the future? You'd have to to catch this Hammersmith bus lane

Hammersmith is considered by many to be the 'capital' of west London. It's got a huge bus station, offering journeys to all corners of the capital, as well as four different Tube lines.

It may be best to stick to public transport in this borough, however, as there's one bus lane even Doctor Strange would struggle to see.

It is responsible for 80 per cent of the borough's bus lane fines
It is responsible for 80 per cent of the borough's bus lane fines. Picture: Google Maps
Very easy to get caught out here
Very easy to get caught out here. Picture: Google Maps

Residents have long complained that the bus lane on Shepherd's Bush Rd between Hammersmith town centre and Shepherd's Bush is "confusing and misleading".

In fact, it has been so confusing for some drivers that it is responsible for 80 per cent of bus lane fines in the borough, totalling to £1.75m between 2017 and 2023, MyLondon reports.

But councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler insisted those who have been caught out are guilty of bad driving.

“These figures cover a period of six years, she said.”

“Our signs and their positioning for this bus lane are correct and proper, having been authorised by the Department for Transport (DfT), and the bus lane fully complies with DfT design requirements. Motorists choosing to ignore the signs and drive in the borough’s bus lanes when they should not will be fined.”

Kingston has the 'stupidest cycle lane in the country', residents believe

Why is this bus lane so 'stupid'?
Why is this bus lane so 'stupid'? Picture: Google Maps

Moving south of the river, Kingston upon Thames is home to some of the fiercest debates about cycle lanes in the entire capital.

More and more cycle lanes have been implemented over the years, dividing residents.

But one cycle lane sticks out in particular: on Penrhyn Road, right outside Kingston University.

It has been blasted by some locals as the "stupidest in the country" because of its "terrible design".

That's because it suddenly cuts of yards away from a set of traffic lights, before restarting again afterwards. This makes it tricky for cyclists as they are warned in the Highway Code: “You must not cycle on a pavement.”

"It cuts right through a crossing, soon a cyclist will hit a person then be blamed for bad markings on the floor," one furious resident explained online.

The 'labyrinth' that is Bank station

Bank Underground station in the City of London
Bank Underground station in the City of London. Picture: Alamy

So far, the Tube has got off pretty lightly in this list, but don't worry, plenty of Londoners are furious about that too.

In particular, one London City Tube station gets people going and that's Bank.

In fact, when one Reddit post asked users which their least favourite Tube station was, one person replied bluntly: "Bank. It's Bank. It's always been Bank and still is Bank."

Over the years, the main gripe with Bank appears to have been about how "complex" of a station is can be to manouevre, especially at rush hour.

And it was actually voted the worst station in 2013 by London commuters. Only time will tell if it's seven-year-long reconstruction, completed in 2023, improves customer satisfaction levels.

London's worst bus route? There's too many, apparently

A London bus in Regent Street
A London bus in Regent Street. Picture: Alamy

One of the most iconic things you can see in London is a red bus. They were painted that way by the London Motor Omnibus Company in the early 20th century to help them stand out from their rivals.

But beyond looking nice and being iconic, they are actually very useful for millions of Londoners in their journeys across the capital.

That doesn't mean they're all perfect either, with Londoners regularly complaining about the 159 from Streatham to Oxford Circus.

One Reddit user described this route as "full from the first stop" and "never empty".

A number of other users also nominated the 57, which runs between Streatham to Kingston. According to one Londoner, "it just goes on and on and on. especially on a Saturday when you hit Tooting/Morden/Wimbledon".

Another complained that it took over 90 minutes to complete their journey.

Want to get across south London? Good luck

Streatham High Road
Streatham High Road. Picture: Alamy

While we're on the topic of south London, have you ever noticed how few Tube stations there are actually are?

The numbers don't lie: there are well over 200 stations north of the river, and just over 30 stations on the south side.

There are historical reasons for this discrepancy, including south London land being more difficult to build on due to land conditions back in the day.

But it's 2024, surely you should be able to take a single tube across south London, say from Streatham to Camberwell, rather than two buses?