Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Strategies on the hoof

Tube strikes are a pain.

When I used to work near Victoria and there was a tube strike I used to resort to the bus. Clearly I wasn't the only one doing this which meant that the bus stop next to Victoria station was very busy.

I could have done the traditionally British thing of queueing politely and waiting my turn, but I didn't. I walked about 20 yards away from the bus stop and waited until my bus drew near. As it slowed down I ran after it and hopped on the back. That meant that when the bus came to a stop, I was already on the bus and didn't have to fight for a space like all of the polite people at the bus stop. (I know - nasty person aren't I?)

This week I knew there was a tube strike affecting my usual route. I figured that some people would opt for the bus alternative but I only assumed I'd see a slight increase in bus queue volume. How stupid.

At Liverpool Street as I made my way to the bus stop I noticed that the gallery level was full of hundreds of people looking down onto the station concourse. A closer look revealed that all of these people were queueing for buses.

I went out onto the road and saw that the taxi situation was equally ridiculous.

I walked back to the bus area and saw the bus I needed leaving. No chance to do the Routemaster trick of hopping on the back because Ken Livingstone has killed them all. I had foolishly left the house without a tube map or an AtoZ so I resorted to following the bus, on foot.

For the first couple of streets I was keeping up with the bus. I thought about trying to find a bus stop far enough away from Liverpool Street for the bus to have emptied a little, and also for a bus stop to be uncrowded.

I did think that strategy was a bit daft but, while I was keeping up with the bus, I didn't care.

Just as the bus was going out of sight, I spotted a sign for Moorgate station and I had a vague memory of Moorgate being on the Northern Line, one of only three lines operating.

I diverted, and the rest is history.

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