Norwich bus lover Reece Collison on Radio 1 with Greg James

14:00 18 February 2022

Bus boffin Reece Collison became a national sensation after traveling to London to take part in a Radio 1 news segment.

The man of the city walked through the capital in a segment titled Beat the Bus.

And the Costessey native has gone viral thanks to his love of buses.

He traveled as far as London to take part in the show which sees an average of four and a half million people tune in.

The Sainsbury’s Longwater delivery driver, 25, said taking part in the Radio 1 challenge was “meant to be”.

He said: “I had to send a message.

“You think you’ll never hear an answer, but a minute later the producers called me to see if I was up for it.

“They said I was perfect and they would love to have me. I couldn’t believe it, I was so shocked.”

The game was founded after a report by Transport for London (TfL) published data highlighting the slowest services on the network.

It included the 14 bus, which takes over an hour and a half to travel the eight miles between Putney Heath and Russell Square at peak times.

The 14 service to Russell Square, which Norwich’s Reece Collison drove to its destination on foot
– Credit: Reece Collison

DJ and UEA alumnus Greg challenged Reece to run part of the route – 2.8km between Russell Square and Green Park – while fellow member Annie Bond hopped on a red bus.

Costessey's Reece Collison with teacher Annie Bond ahead of their Radio 1 debut

Costessey’s Reece Collison with teacher Annie Bond ahead of their Radio 1 debut
– Credit: Reece Collison

Reece said: “I’m just adventurous enough, I can’t sit still.

“There are 545 regular daytime routes in London and I’ve done 412 of them. I have a list of all the ones I’ve done and all 14 are in the top 10.”

However, Reece was beaten to the finish line by the big red bus and cited the pandemic and semester to speed up the service.

“We are ready for a recovery on a more level playing field,” added Reece.

“Me and Annie are going to be friends for life.”

Reece said he and fellow contestant Annie Bond, 31, will be friends for life

Reece said he and fellow contestant Annie Bond, 31, will be friends for life
– Credit: Annie Bond

Greg James and listeners encouraged Reece to join TikTok to share his passion for buses with the world, saying he could be just as much about successful train spotter Francis Bourgeois.

Reece said: “I can’t understand all of this. They want me to be the equivalent of the London bus, so I just downloaded TikTok. I’m stunned.”

Transport for the London bus network

Buses have been used to get around London since 1829 in the form of horse-drawn omnibus services.

However, it was not until 1904 that the capital saw its first motorized vehicles.

At that time, buses were available in a variety of shades, not just red.

In 1907, the London General Omnibus Company revamped its entire fleet to stand out from the competition.

When London Transport formed in 1933 and incorporated, it extended the convention to most London buses, the effects of which still endure today.

The oldest route in the network is 24, launched in 1911.

Only minor changes have been made to the route in its history.

As of March 2021, London’s bus fleet consisted of over 9,000 buses, including 3,884 hybrid, 485 electric and two hydrogen buses.

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