Tube strike: alternative ways to get around London

Apr 28, 2014

Useful websites, apps, information and cycling tips to help you avoid London Tube strike chaos

FOUR million London commuters will experience some kind of disruption to their journey during this week's Tube strike. Below are some tips for surviving the next 48 hours. 

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. There will be 100 extra bus services on key routes during the strike, but space will be at a premium and most are still 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 Barclay's Cycle Hire, but if you want to get on two wheels, you may need to get in early – during the last Tube strike the scheme was incredibly popular. Find your closest docking station here.

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
Not every station on every line will be closed. Keep up to date on 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
Additional river services will be in place throughout the strike. 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 will 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 – though the service often struggles when demand outstrips supply.

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.

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