[box type=”info”] Saturday 6th February Tube strike: latest updates![/box]
When does the tube strike start?
If strike is confirmed the tube will stop running at 21:00 on Saturday 6th.
How long does the tube strike last?
The strike is planned to last 48 hours. There will be no tube until 20:59 Monday 8 February.
Will the whole network be affected?
All the tube lines will grind to a halt. However Overground and Rail will run as normal. There will also be 250 extra buses on the roads.
Services info here: tfl.gov.uk/modes/tube/tube-strike
Why are they doing it?
Money, of course, why do you even ask? Apparently they can’t agree on the Night Tube service.
— Tom Phillips (@flashboy) February 5, 2014
How to survive a Tube Strike in London
But if there is a strike while you are travelling to London a few days you might not have the same resilience and determination of a commuter: you have so much to do and so little time, as quite fittingly said Jack Nicholson’s Joker. If you had the misfortune of having a strike planned during your stay in London it’s vital to adopt measures to avoid being too heavily affected by the disruptions.
Avoid rush hour
This suggestion actually has to be applied any time of the year, but even more during a strike: everywhere is crowded, the tube is more expensive and buses are slower. Each strike is carried out in different ways, however generally the tube works on a limited service and many stations are closed, which means that the whole network is pretty useless and unreliable, and the buses get stuck going through central areas.
Use alternative transportation
Let’s be honest: the only reliable mean of transport in a strike day is… your legs! But London is big and some distances are too long for walking. I suggest to consider hiring a bike, or to take a Boris Bike: one of those funny looking bikes popularly named after our comic mayor who introduced the bike sharing scheme.
Braving the brownish waters of the Thames, the boat service – Thames Clipper – is immune to traffic jams. Their route is obviously limited to the water course but they touch down to many interesting area, they offer a different point of view of the city and it’s a fun ride!
You can also rely on my favourite line: the Overground. Not being part of the tube network is immune to strikes. During rush hours it will be overcrowded, but for the rest of the day the service should be quiet and smooth as usual. It might be the fastest way to move across town and, if you have a bicycle, you can take it on board. You can download here the Overground map in PDF.
Even a rickshaw can be a good option for short distances, even though they will get affected by the traffic as much as any bus or car, the riders know all the short-cuts. And in these days you could have got a free ride by some men wearing morphsuit (yes, really).
Plan in advande
Whether you are keen planners or random wanderers in days like these you will need a bit of organization or you’ll risk to miss out what you want to visit, spending most of your day stuck on a bus. Think in advance of which area you would like to visit during strike day, possible an area that can be entirely explored on foot, and make sure you can get there and back without problems, possibly using one of the alternative transportation solutions listed above. It is vital to avoid rush hour (yes, I mentioned that again!) and avoid going through the city centre.
Why not? Forget the Tower Bridge and the changing of guards for one day, and focus on the area where you are staying. Obviously is paramount to choose your accommodation wisely: if you end up somewhere boring where each building is a hotel (like, roughly, between Victoria and Edgware Road), there won’t be much to see, but every other borough of London has its own soul and vibe. Have a stroll in the streets, relax in a local café, eat something ethnic and new, observe how the local community lives on a normal day and you might find something unexpected. This is the very heart of London after all.
To find out more on public transport and Oyster Card, read this article.