It’s that time of year in the capital ladies and gentlemen, where everything falls to a standstill because the tubes are on strike. It’s a magical time of year, much like Christmas, but instead of presents and food, you get anger and frustration. Happy times for everyone right?
This time the train drivers are striking over the fact that they are currently going uncompensated for the plan to introduce a 24 hour tube service over weekends on certain lines. While I do understand the frustration of the workers, it’s incredibly hard to be on their side when it causes so much trouble and frustration with others trying to make their daily wage.
London has been a scene of chaos and crowds today, with just the London Overground service and the DLR running alongside the buses that have been crammed with people even more than usual. The problem with the trains shutting their doors is that everybody has to rely on other forms of transport; ones that are no equipped with the resources that the London Underground has. Where a jubilee train would come along every 2-3 minutes, buses were still running their regular service which would see your only way of transport into work coming at anywhere between 8-12 minutes usually.
So imagine your rush hour journey into Central London with a train that would only come every 10 minutes on average, and imagine how packed each station would be. Even typing these words, I feel the suffocation of having to go through that ordeal, but it was essentially what happened today.
Saying that though, people were being much more creative in getting to work. Many more people were cycling in (and being incredibly smug about the fact that they were) and lots were even walking to work, which shows you the stress they were under to actually make it in. Not only have you had to queue for buses today, but people have been queueing to use the Boris bikes too.
Where there is a strike though, there is opportunity. Taxi service Uber hiked it’s prices up today as they sensed the desperation from people waiting in lines to be able to get on buses. They decided to triple their regular rates, although with the amount of traffic in the street, each driver was taking a longer time between each fare, so I assume that was Uber’s justification for the price rise.
The strike today has caused doubt over whether the previously confirmed September 12 launch date of the all night tubes will actually go ahead, as negotiations between the unions, London Underground and the government continue. Even Mayor Boris Johnson has stated that he is not refusing to change to launch date.
The general feeling all around London though is that the entire population cannot wait for tomorrow, when normal service resumes. Until then though, I will pray for you all.