The inevitable stages of falling asleep on the nightbus

Don’t end up stuck at the end of the N29

| UPDATED london Night bus transport ucl

It’s gonna happen, just accept it.

London lets us live the dream of 24/7 transport, but it’s not without its dangers. If rent prices have driven you out of Zone 1 like the majority of UCL students, the trip back from your usual club night can mean a lengthy journey home after the tube shuts down for the night.

Follow our guide and retain your dignity while falling asleep on the nightbus.

The Tab London’s editor Jen travels in style – she brings her own pillow

Prepare for the road

No student night out is complete without a greasy, carby snack, and you need to keep up your stamina to cope with the terrors of London transport at night. If we’re honest, you could also do with sobering up a little. Thankfully, help is at hand.

Glorious purveyors of free student cheeseburgers

Find your bus stop (and then start waiting)

Big Mac in hand, it’s now time to find your bus stop. The Tab’s chariot of choice is the N55 – straight from the West End to Hackney. It’s easy to get disorientated when the tube map becomes redundant after 1am, but provided you’re on the right side of the road a bus should be along to get you home any minute now.

23 minutes?!

…Just breathe in, breathe out, pretend you’re not freezing and livid.

Do not miss that bus

At this time of night there’s not a minute to lose. You’ve already waited for 20 minutes and god only knows when the next bus will turn up.


Now find a seat.

No luck downstairs, obviously, you’re going to have to stumble drunkenly around the top deck.

Cheer up, everyone.

For the drunken wanderer the nightbus is nothing short of a big red death trap on wheels. Clamp your kebab under your arm or, if necessary, in your mouth and hold onto the hand rail for dear life.


That’ll do. Make yourself comfortable and for god’s sake try not to doze off.

Try not to sit next to the mouthy drunk/homeless/lonely person

Often found at the back seat on the top deck, there’s always one passenger who sees the nightbus as the perfect opportunity to make use of a captive audience. You can dodge them by swiftly putting in headphones or sitting as far away as possible. If you’re not sure who we’re talking about; it’s you.

Wake up suddenly, with no idea where you are

It happens to the best of us. You’ve fallen asleep and now you’re in the middle of nowhere. You’ve got to decide, quickly: stay on in the vain hope that you’ll end up somewhere you recognise, or get off now before you’re taken even further away from home? Better get off. You can’t have been asleep that long, surely?

This isn’t Hackney, is it.

Oh crap.

Get the bus in the opposite direction

Finding the same bus in the return direction is harder than it sounds, especially in the dark. If you were so fast asleep that you stayed on the bus right to the end of the line, then hopefully a well-organised bus station will help you hop back on the next available Routemaster.

If you’ve ended up anywhere else though, your guess is as good as ours.

Now you’re going to need your second bus of the night.

Don’t make the same mistake again – make sure you get off at your stop this time. Tab Top Tip: it’s a lot harder to fall asleep if you’re standing up.

Also when you’re drunk it sort of feels like you’re flying. Stay awake and you’ll be safely in bed in no time.