Despite the rain, there was joy in Muswell Hill and Highgate this morning as local residents stepped aboard the first service on the new 603 bus connecting Muswell Hill and Highgate with Hampstead and Swiss Cottage. Local councillors Lynne Featherstone (Muswell Hill) and Neil Williams (Highgate) joined Keith Tarn and local campaigners, passengers and school kids to board the service at 7.30 this morning in Muswell Hill Broadway (see pic).

The bus was a modest two minutes late as the first passengers boarded in the rain this morning and set off towards Highgate. The service was in strong demand, with passengers, both school kids and adults alike, boarding at every stop on the way to Highgate.

Lib Dem councillor and GLA member Lynne Featherstone, who boarded the bus, said there was almost a “party atmosphere” on board, and was very pleased with the number of passengers who took the first trip.

Lynne Featherstone comments:

“This was a great moment, and I am delighted that there was such a good take-up this morning. I am confident this will grow as the days pass and more people become aware of the benefits of the route. As well as schoolchildren, we had adult passengers making the journey to Hampstead and the Royal Free. I’ve always felt that the bus would be much more than a school service, and this was a great start. I am absolutely delighted.”

Highgate councillor Neil Williams adds:

“Despite the rain and the particularly heavy traffic this morning, this was a brilliant moment. I am sure the trial will be a great success, which will enable us to show Transport for London that the route thoroughly deserves a full service. That’s what we will be campaigning for in the coming weeks and months.”