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Seven things you learn during a tube strike

Danielle De Wolfe

Tube strike: two little words Londoners have grown to dislike more than cold cups of tea or getting caught in a downpour without a brolly. With the announcement that London's Waterloo & City line is set to grind to a halt for 48 hours from September 28, take a look at the lessons we've learned from all this strike action:

1. Working from home can be a complete nightmare

Don’t get me wrong, the novelty of a day spent wearing checked pyjamas and no make-up is bloody brilliant. The issue however, comes when a day working from under your duvet quickly turns into a series of procrastinatory measures including the classic 'let’s make snacks and finish watching Jeremy Kyle' and the obligatory 'time to clean the kitchen'. Next thing you know it’s 4pm, you’ve written one line of that proposal and you’ve finally managed to eat yourself out of house and home. Great.


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2. How good the British really are at queuing

It’s an art form, a favourite national pastime and an institution that reflects the diplomacy of a nation. No wonder Londoners are all so bloody good at it. Come rain or shine we follow the rules of the pavement - umbrellas in hand, single-file lines, throwing judgemental looks at those who attempt to bend the rules, and under no circumstances do we fall into the trap of a verbal or physical altercation. Londoners should actually be awarded honorary PHDs in queuing.

3. Tube strikes can actually save you money

Despite disrupting your commute, walking all or part of your journey can leave you with a few extra pounds in your pocket. More than just a great incentive to exercise (meaning you have the right to indulge in that almond croissant while poring over the morning emails), the reduced travel costs will stop those odd little treats from eating into your monthly budget. Not only that, a strike often means swapping nights out and post-work dinner plans for a quiet evening in or even a gathering a little closer to home. Come the end of the month, your bank balance may well feel the benefits.

 4. There’s never a Boris Bike when you need one

There may be a tube strike on but the sun’s out (maybe!), you’ve left the house early and cycling basically permits you to avoid hitting the gym this evening, right? You might want to reconsider that when you arrive at a docking station to find it completely bikeless. And we’re talking nothing but the sound of a breeze and a tumbleweed sort of bikeless. Despite their numbers, everyone gets the same genius idea and the red two-wheelers simply vanish. That is until you arrive at your office to find an overflowing docking station filled with the things.

 5. New Yorkers have it good

Did you know that the never-sleeping Big Apple has had a 24-hour subway system since the day it first opened? And with public sector strikes being punishable by fines and prison time under Taylor Law, the city has gone a whole decade without subway strike action. But it’s not just New Yorkers who benefit from having a non-stop underground network too: Chicago, Tokyo and Copenhagen also reap the benefits of unrelenting transport. There’s no need to cut the party short or even worry about getting home at silly o’clock in the morning. New Yorkers, we’re envious. 


 6. How close together everything in London actually is

It may seem like we spend half of our lives on public transport, but in reality most of that is down to regulating the service or rush-hour traffic. London landmarks really aren’t as far apart as we think: walking from Covent Garden to Leicester Square may seem like a few steps short of a marathon, but in reality it’s a mere 260 metres.

 7. Who knew Oyster cards were accepted on Thames Clippers?

All aboard the floating transport network with a really, really good view. A revelation to many, tube strikes often lead us to search for viable travel alternatives, boats included. The Thames Clipper option ferries passengers from as far West as Putney to the city’s eastern delights like North Greenwich and Royal Arsenal, alongside various commuter hubs in-between, such as Embankment, London Bridge City and Canary Wharf. Not such a weird alternative now is it?

Still not prepped? Brace yourself with our ultimate guide to surviving the tube strike.

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