Having lived in London for three years now (Uxbridge does count as London, sort of) I’d gotten the idea into my head that I could work out TFL (Transport For London to those of you without the internal Londoner heart that now beats in my chest). Needless to say that I discovered during this bout of tube strikes that I was wrong. So wrong that it cost me (and my Dad, sorry Dad) over £50 in train tickets. Thanks, TFL, thanks a bunch.

 Now at this stage I would like to attempt to include a disclaimer to this article: I CHECKED THE TFL WEBSITE. Mere hours before my journey from Cambridgeshire to London was set to begin I logged on and had a look. The Piccadilly was scheduled to be stopped but nothing else. Or so I thought. I emerged onto the platform at King’s Cross and noticed that everyone else was running to get to the tube. Silly them, I thought as I slowly meandered toward the Metropolitan Line.

 Upon arriving I was informed that I could not get to Uxbridge. That sure was a handy way to start my journey. Could I get to Baker Street and then go on to Uxbridge? No. How about Heathrow? I’m more than willing to walk from there back to university. Also not an option. What about the replacement bus services? They were sure good for the last several tube strikes.  It’s a strike, there aren’t any replacement buses… Even though there were during the last ones? Yes. I moved my enquiries on and asked taxi drivers how much it would be to get to Uxbridge, the prices were high and, as a student, I really didn’t fancy having to pay £80 to get home. Great.

…I discovered during this bout of tube strikes that I was wrong…

transport-for-london-logoSo it is that I find myself writing this article whilst sitting on a train that’s heading back to my parents’ home. It is cheaper to do that and wait, than it is to get to the other side of London – doesn’t that seem stupid? Don’t get me wrong, I get it. My issue with the tube strikes – money – is a driving force in there being tube strikes in the first place. I would like to think that if I were rich, and had the spare change I would get a taxi and revel in the act of protest being employed so rigorously by TFL employees. But I’m not.

 At this stage I assume that it is my own fault that I’m stuck on a train heading toward exactly the opposite destination that I was hoping for. I’m going to have to miss work tomorrow morning which is another kick, and then I’m going to have to rearrange my plans for the next few days because, as already mentioned briefly, I won’t be able to attend.

…I’m stuck on a train heading toward exactly the opposite destination that I was hoping for…

 Honestly, it’s easy to be pissed off in this situation. I’m £50 down (not including the money that I would have earned at work) and on a train that smells like piss. I should really look into the striking, I’m fairly sure it’s got something to with people losing their jobs or job security through an extensive revamping of the London Transport system. That being said, I could be utterly wrong. Either way, I for one think that we should give in to it. No amount of money could be worth this hassle for thousands of people. A 45 minute tube ride from King’s Cross to Uxbridge should not be delayed by 48 hours, it just shouldn’t.

 I also like to go philosophical. There’s an argument that says that the good of the many outweighs the good of the few. In this situation I’m not sure who qualifies as the many and who qualifies as the few, but right now I feel like I’m probably one of the many – purely based on the fact that I’m in a really tedious situation which can only be solved with A. excessive spending, B. a very long walk, or C. highly disrupted plans. I saw a report in the paper whilst on this unfortunate journey that claimed that hundreds millions of pounds were lost across London as a result of the strikes. As before, I can see that there could be a need for it and I, in many ways, would actually be pretty happy to see some sort of Che Guevara style tube employee standing up against Boris (and not only because it would be hilarious). Ultimately though I’m undecided to be honest. I’ve written this and vented and I feel a bit better about the waste of money and time that my attempt to return to Uxbridge has turned out to be. I do understand that modernising is a part of our modern world but I can also see that ultimately, for those whose jobs are at risk this is irrelevant. Perhaps I would be more willing to really be annoyed at the strikers if I thought that the opposition were in any way on my side. But truthfully, and I don’t suppose I’m standing alone on this one – I know that any costs that would be cut by the laying off of workers and any money that would be saved in the new way of running London Transport would not be passed on in the way of savings to me as someone living in London.

…I would be more willing to really be annoyed at the strikers if I thought that the opposition were in any way on my side…

Frankly, all I can say at the end of all this is that I’ve lost today. As has anybody else in the same position. The strikes might be for good reason but ultimately it doesn’t matter – if TFL choose to lay people off then they will. As I said, I don’t think it’ll save me money either way and I’m not optimistic enough to assume that I’m going to get something good out of this anytime soon, so for now all I really want to say is, give in Boris. Give them what they want, at least for now just so that I can get from one side of London to another without having to pay £80…

About The Author

A 21 year old English and Creative Writing student at Brunel Uni in Uxbridge. I write about a whole range of subjects and have a keen interest in journalism and writing in general. @BrynWGlover

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