While most people use the Night Bus to get home after a night out, a smaller number travel the other way, heading into work or travelling home against the usual flow of traffic.
Waiting at the bus stop, ten minutes early.
A cyclist ride by, front lights aimed upwards flashing at the sky. A van slowly drives past with three thumps indicating the delivery of newspapers flung from the drivers seat.
The bus arrives, a swipe of the oyster card, a glance at the chap sleeping at the back of the bus and a bound up to the empty upper floor.
Two stops along and on comes a lady, dragging a small suitcase and dressed in the prim uniform that both manages to look cheap yet whispers of exotic adventures in the airlines.
Along we go, navigating strange narrow passages through railway arches at Westferry.
Joined by a hoodie with music blaring out of his ears. Should I put up with this all the way into town or try to say something?
Another stop and suddenly the bus is busy as a dozen people join. Most stay downstairs, but one elderly lady joins us upstairs and after a mild look of confusion settled down at the back. Two Asian men chatting away animatedly in a foreign tounge sat at the front.
Passing the empty Watney Market and the hoodie darted up like a startled rabbit and jumped off the bus as if suddenly aware of a terrible mistake.
Along the empty road, an ambulance, lights flashing, raced past on an urgent mission to save a life – or deal with a nocturnal paper cut.
Around a corner and its Aldgate East station and the place is bustling with people. Not passengers, the first train wont pass for another couple of hours, but the hard hats and orange jackets of the overnight maintenance team squeezing in another attempt to patch up the creaking infrastructure.
A bit further and the bus stop comes into view with a large crowd, but it seems they are all interested in other destinations as only a couple could be seen to climb on board, but lots got off, including the chatting Asians.
The bus is nearly empty, but some of us still need to be delivered to our destinations.
Racing though the City, past Bank, past the newsagent that is open even now, past the offices with lights blazing even though no one is around to use them.
A couple of orange jacket workers looking lost by Mansion House station.
Peering over the road hoardings that conceal the works at Blackfriars station from most motorists and suddenly a blast of cold white daylight as the building works for the new station come into view, with their searing floodlights and builders scurrying around the place.
An unreasonably tight looking turn diverts the bus from the bridge and down onto the empty Embankment. Decorative street lighting and ornate office blocks replacing the harsh demonstration of industry at the bridge behind us.
Racing along, past Temple, and the blue ring of the London Eye starts to dominate the night sky with the orange glow of Parliament behind it.
No stopping for passengers any more as the bus passes Embankment Station and nears its destination.
Under the railway ridge and a sharp turn to pass a hotel with doorman waiting for late customers. The bus stops, it waits, are we at the end of the journey? The lady is still sitting at the back, so I guess not.
Unless she has fallen asleep?
The bus starts up again and turns one final corner and to the electronic voice announces the end of the journey. Not quite Trafalgar Square, but the best place to drop off passengers before driving round to collect the dregs of the drunken night out.
My flat to Trafalgar Square in 30 minutes. It could only be done at 3 o’clock in the morning.