Tube strike: alternative ways to get around London next week

Jul 2, 2015

Unions have voted for a 24-hour strike next week over pay and conditions for new Night Tube

London commuters face disruption to their journeys next week if the planned Tube strike goes ahead. Union members are threatening to walk out for 24 hours on Wednesday evening. London Underground negotiators and union bosses are meeting today at the Euston offices of Acas in a bid to settle their differences over pay and conditions related to the new Night Tube.

Below are some tips for surviving the strike if no deal can be reached:

Get the bus

"A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure." The quote, sometimes attributed to Margaret Thatcher, is likely to be apocryphal, but if she did say it she obviously never experienced a Tube strike.

If walking isn't an option, jumping on a bus may be your best bet. Space might be at a premium and buses are likely to crawl along at a snail's pace in the congestion. To aid your journey, download the free London Bus Live Countdown app, which will tell you how long you have to wait until the next two buses come at once.

Ride a bike

So-called 'Boris bikes' can be hired throughout central London with Santander Cycles, but if you want to get on two wheels, you may need to get in early – during previous Tube strikes the scheme was incredibly popular.

If you are a not a regular cyclist then heed these words of wisdom from Stu Bowers, deputy editor of Cyclist magazine:

  • Awareness, awareness, awareness. It's the best piece of advice we can offer any cyclist. Experienced cyclists develop a sixth sense for predicting what could happen. That car is about to pull out in front of me; that pedestrian is about to step off the kerb into my path etc. Be aware of what or who is behind you as well as in front.
  • Ride like you'd drive a car. Be assertive but within the rules of the road. Take as much room as you need, and be confident. Indecision/hesitancy/nervous riding can cause accidents.
  • Don't go through red lights.
  • Don't go along the inside of large vehicles (buses, lorries etc) as if they suddenly turn left they will squash you. They may not have indicated their intention to make this turn to you.
  • Don't forget even a Boris bike has gears – they are there to make your life easier – so get a feel for how to use them, and you will find riding one much more pleasurable.
  • Consider wearing a helmet. Better to be safe than sorry.
  • Plan a route before you go.
Catch the Tube

A strike is unlikely to close every station on every line. Keep up to date with which stations are open and you may be able to jump on the Tube as normal – but trains are likely to be more crowded than usual.

Navigate the Thames

Find your closest pier here. To cross the river, you may also be able to use the Emirates Air Line – a cable car that runs from Greenwich to the Royal Docks.

Take a taxi

The streets are likely to be snarled with traffic, but if you have no other option, marshalled taxi services operate at Euston, Waterloo, Liverpool Street, London Bridge, King's Cross, Victoria, Charing Cross, and Marylebone stations. You might also want to try the Hailo app to bring a black cab to you.


London may be smaller than you think. Download Google Maps to your phone and navigate your own way to work. The NHS says that taking a stroll is an underrated form of exercise. A 60kg person walking at 3mph will burn 99 calories in 30 minutes. So when you get to work you can reward yourself with a piece of cake. A very small piece of cake.

Tube strike: when will London Underground be disrupted?

1 July 2015

More London Underground workers have voted to join Tube drivers in a 24-hour strike next week in a row over pay and the new all-night Tube service.

Members of the RMT and TSSA unions are planning to walk out from 6.30pm on Wednesday 8 July, while members of the drivers' union Aslef will walk out at 9.30pm.

Unite, which represents electrical and maintenance technicians, linesmen and signallers, has also supported strike action.

The unions are unhappy about issues including jobs and safety, as well as specific pay and conditions for the new weekend Night Tube, which will begin on five lines from 12 September.

Aslef said drivers are being expected to work an unlimited number of weekend and night shifts for no extra pay, while RMT general secretary Mick Cash claimed Underground management had "smashed apart long-term agreements" and were trying to "bully" staff into accepting roster changes.

"The industrial relations situation on the Tube has sunk to an almost unprecedented low with all four unions united and balloting for action over pay and working arrangements due to be ushered in under the guise of the mayor's 'Night Tube' vanity project in just ten weeks' time," he said.

The unions are in talks today with the conciliation service Acas to resolve the dispute.

The new Night Tube will run on the Victoria and Jubilee lines, as well as sections of the Central, Northern and Piccadilly lines.

Steve Griffiths, London Underground's chief operating officer, told the BBC: "Londoners and businesses overwhelmingly back the Night Tube. It will make life easier for everyone, cut journey times, create jobs and boost the economy.

"No-one is being asked to work more hours. In return, we are offering a realistic pay increase this year and next, as well as an additional payment for Night Tube working."

Tube strike: drivers angry over pay for new all-night service 

18 June

London Underground drivers have voted overwhelmingly to strike next month in a row over pay and the new 24-hour Tube service.

Four in five members of the tube drivers' union Aslef took part in the vote, with 97 per cent backing strike action, due to begin on Wednesday 8 July.

The union says drivers are being expected to work an unlimited number of weekend and night shifts for no extra pay when the new all-night weekend tube service is introduced from 12 September.

It has a rejected a 0.75 per cent pay rise, a £500 bonus and an extra £250 bonus for all workers for the night service, according to the BBC.

Finn Brennan, Aslef's district organiser, said his members wanted to be remunerated appropriately.

"We aren't opposed to all-night services but we want them introduced in a fair and sensible way which rewards staff for their hard work and the contribution they make to the success of the London Underground," he said.

He added there was a "window of opportunity" for London Underground managers to "avoid a summer of disruption" by taking part in talks with the union to find a solution.

"They need to withdraw the threat to impose new rosters and make a realistic offer on pay and conditions," he said.

According to the BBC, the 24-hour strike is due to start at 9.30pm on 8 July. "Two other unions are also carrying out ballots which could mean all the Tube unions go on strike on the same day, which has not happened since 1992," it says.

Sky News points out that the vote and turnout level were both above the new thresholds under consideration by the government for union ballot strikes.

Steve Griffiths, LU's chief operating officer, said pay levels for his staff were "already fair" and any increase must be "sustainable". He said that he was still "in the midst" of negotiations and wanted to give staff a pay rise "this year and next".

He added: "We also want to minimise the impact of the Night Tube on our people, and compensate those it will affect most."

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No rail service of any sort west of Exeter, so England cut off from Cornwall and likely to be for weeks; but that is obviously much less important than a few people having to get a bus rather than the tube in that London...

Economically it is.