Tube strike - the long walk to work: Keeping calm, carrying on - and cursing the mobile map

Commuters faced the dilemma of zig-zagging round to work via the remnant Tube and on crowded buses - or putting on comfy footwear

Share

Oh the irony. Half-way on my strike-beating hike across London was a Crossrail advert proclaiming "When we've finished tunneling, you'll get across London in 12 minutes". Not if they haven't settled the union relationships, I thought.

Take a few thousand steps back to a man on the 6.27 to Liverpool Street. Was it worth chancing the watered-down service from Stratford to Waterloo, walking up to Hyde Park and then hope for a bus towards Kensington? Or was it time to put aside the zig-zag lottery and man up?

Coming in to Stratford it was still 10 minutes before whatever Tube services were due to start, and the thought of a growing crowd of Essex commuters waiting for the 7am Jubilee Line kick-off was enough to persuade me. Six miles? I'd carry on to Liverpool Street and hike from there.

At the mainline terminus, the sight of the crowd waiting for the 7am opening of the Tube gates convinced me I had made the right decision. It's hard to imagine a less energised crowd gathered in such resigned and silent depression.

7.00am Liverpool Street: Leaving the crowd behind the trek started with the realisation that you'd be hard put to tell this from a normal morning. A few more people wearing trainers rather than shoes, maybe. A few more haversacks. But whatever doggedness was on display was certainly masked more by silent pragmatism than overt cussedness.

7.17am St Paul's: A few folk were resorting to mobile maps to navigate unfamiliar above-ground London, and turning circles as they held phones aloft when tall buildings interrupted the screen refresh.

7.28 Chancery Lane: Realised I hadn't yet seen a bus without seats available. Some were even nearly empty.

7.48 Tottenham Court Road: Here I spotted the Crossrail mentioned ad at the top of this commentary. Crossing London in 12 minutes? Be nice, I thought - even nicer if they finish it before I retire. As I passed Oxford Circus I saw the promised TfL guides pointing directions and showing maps; good luck with the tourists later.

Crowds wait for the 7am opening of the restricted Tube lines at Liverpool Street Crowds wait for the 7am opening of the restricted Tube lines at Liverpool Street

An empty No 1 to Canada Water near Holborn, but buses were rammed later in High Street Kensington An empty No 1 to Canada Water near Holborn, but buses were rammed later in High Street Kensington

TfL guides helping commuters at Oxford Circus, but they were the only ones I saw. Perhaps they had trouble getting to work... TfL guides helping commuters at Oxford Circus, but they were the only ones I saw. Perhaps they had trouble getting to work...

This gate at Marble Arch was closed but others were opened This gate at Marble Arch was closed but others were opened 8.05 Marble Arch: Announcements echoed from the barred Oxford Street entrance at Marble Arch. Odd, I thought, but then noticed other entrances were open.

8.20 Crossing the Serpentine: Every walk across London has its bonus - and today gave up the sight of riders and horses from the Household Cavalry trotting out for exercise.

8.38 Office: I finally saw some fully-laden buses heading towards central London, with the No 9 and No 10 looking especially rammed. The traffic might have been a bit worse than usual. In the office, there was a heads-down and don't-mention-the-journey atmosphere. At least not till everyone starts to worry about the journey home.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Taking on Ukip requires a delicate balancing act for both main parties

Andrew Grice
Today is a bigger Shabbes than usual in the Jewish world because it has been chosen to launch the Shabbos Project  

Shabbes exerts a pull on all Jews, and today is bigger than ever

Howard Jacobson
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker