Civil servant's London to Morecambe bus adventure sparks Twitter storm

A civil servant from London travelled to Morecambe entirely by bus in a mammoth trip which took almost 24 hours.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Monday, 23rd August 2021, 12:05 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd August 2021, 12:52 pm
Jo Kibble. Photo via BBC
Jo Kibble. Photo via BBC

Jo Kibble, 39, set out to travel as far as he could from London in one day using only public bus routes - and his trip ended up being followed by thousands on social media.

"I like travelling by public transport and by bus; I think it's a great way to see the country," Mr Kibble told the BBC.

"I also really like timetables and I like the logistics of putting things together."

Jo Kibble's route planning. Photo via BBC

After "the last 18 months of having exciting travel plans cancelled", Mr Kibble decided to work out how far he could get from the centre of London in 24 hours on public bus networks.

"It was just a paper exercise to keep me occupied," said Mr Kibble, who is head of the Leader's Office at Ealing Council. "I had some fun doing that on commutes to and from work."

Mr Kibble figured the furthest he could get in one day would be Morecambe - around 260 miles from Charing Cross, the geographical centre of London.

"One day I decided to see if it worked in person and not just on paper," Mr Kibble said.

Mr Kibble said he would like to return to Morecambe to visit some of its sights, including the Midland Hotel. Photo via BBC

And so, at 3am on Friday he boarded his first bus, the N9 to Heathrow.

While travelling he said he discovered there was a "large fan following of Preston Bus Station".

"People sent me messages telling me I needed to go and visit Preston Bus Station," he said. "Luckily it was already on the route.

"It is a remarkable piece of architecture; seeing that first hand was surprisingly moving in a way."

While in Morecambe, Jo Kibble visited the site of the old railway station, now a pub. Photo via BBC

At 00.29 on Saturday Mr Kibble arrived at Morecambe Bus Station, six minutes early.

The 260-mile journey had cost him £56.95 - roughly £16 more than the cost of the train journey home.

The trip also provided "an interesting microcosm of a day", Mr Kibble said.

"Seeing your late-night revellers in London, then people starting early shifts at Heathrow, then on to a normal commuting route through Milton Keynes.

Mr Kibble describes Preston Bus Station as "a temple to public transport". Photo via BBC

"I got to Northampton and Leicester around the time older people's bus passes become valid, which was a very different crowd, and then on to students pub-crawling through Greater Manchester.

"I now know too much about the sex lives of some Lancaster University students and the tall tales some people tell about their batting prowess."

Since posting details of his journey on Twitter, the thread has been retweeted thousands of times.

The trip even got a congratulatory message from the minister responsible for buses Baroness Vere, who tweeted: "What a journey! Brilliant! Well done!"

"I completely wasn't expecting it," said Mr Kibble, who runs a blogging site where he talks about politics, policy and travel.

"I'm not sure why it's struck a chord with people."