Bus enthusiast Reece goes viral after appearing on Radio 1

TfL driver Berry, Annie Bond and Reece Collison of Norwich with the Number 14 bus to Russell Square

TfL driver Berry, Annie Bond and Reece Collison of Norwich with the Number 14 bus to Russell Square - Credit: Annie Bond

Bus boffin Reece Collison has become a national sensation after travelling to London to take part in a Radio 1 news segment. 

The city man raced through the capital on foot in a segment named Beat the Bus. 

And the Costessey native has gone viral thanks to his adoration of busses. 

He travelled all the way to 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 that appearing on the Radio 1 challenge was "meant to be".

He said: "I had to message in.

"You think you're never going to hear back, but a minute later I had the producers ringing me up to see if I was up for this. 

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"They said I was perfect and they'd love to have me on. I couldn't believe it, I was so shocked."

The game was founded after a Transport for London (TfL) report released data which highlighted the network's slowest services.

It included the 14 bus, which takes more than an hour and a half to travel the eight miles between Putney Heath and Russell Square during rush hour.

The 14 service to Russell Square, which Norwich's Reece Collison raced to its destination by foot

The 14 service to Russell Square, which Norwich's Reece Collison raced to its destination by foot - Credit: Reece Collison

DJ and UEA alumnus Greg challenged Reece to walk a portion of the route - 1.8 miles between Russell Square and Green Park - while fellow listener 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 quite adventurous, I can't sit still. 

"There are 545 regular daytime routes in London and I've done 412 of them. I've got a list of every single one I've done and the 14 is in the top 10."

However, Reece was beaten to the finish line by the big red bus and cited the pandemic and half term for speeding up the service.

"We're up for a re-run on more of an even playing field," Reece added.

"Me and Annie are going to be friends for life."

Reece said that he and fellow competitor Annie Bond, 31, will be life-long friends

Reece said that he and fellow competitor Annie Bond, 31, will be life-long friends - Credit: Annie Bond

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

Reece said: "I can't comprehend all this. They want me to be the London bus equivalent so I've just downloaded TikTok. I'm dumbfounded."

Transport for London's bus network

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

Yet it wasn't until 1904 that the capital saw its first motorised vehicles.

At this time buses came in a variety of shades not just red.

In 1907 the London General Omnibus Company rouged-up 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 last today.

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

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

As of March 2021 London's bus fleet is made up of more than 9,000 buses, including 3,884 hybrid, 485 electric, and two hydrogen buses.