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London buses on tube strike days

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 Martin W 04 Aug 2022

Can any UKCers who have experienced the previous London tube strikes this year comment on whether aiming to use buses for travel within the capital for leisure purposes would be wise, or at all pleasant, on a strike day?

We are aiming to attend a family wedding in Tottenham on the 20th.  Leaving aside the question of whether our booked train from Edinburgh on the 18th will actually run, we had planned to visit the RA summer exhibition on the 19th.  Normally that would be a straightforward trip down the Victoria line - but the 19th is a tube strike day.  Obviously the journey can be done by bus instead, but the news reports from the last round of tube strikes make that sound like it would be pretty nightmarish.  We're wondering whether it would be simpler to curtail our plans, and make it a short trip just for the wedding.

In reply to Martin W:

Daughter lives central London, works north ish London, and says it’s been a total fiasco on strike days. Might be OK ish outside rush hour?  

In reply to Martin W:

Strike day is really bad, the tube definitely won't be running and buses are prone to cancellation and delay. Would suggest you cut back on unnecessary travel and stick to the wedding. 

Alternatively you could get one of the numerous bike hires and cycle. 

In reply to Martin W:

I would cycle. Assuming you are staying near Tottenham, get a bus down the A10 to Dalston and pick up a Santander bike from a docking station and ride to the RA

https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/cycling/santander-cycles/find-a-docking-station

There might be other street hire bikes or electric scooters in Tottenham but I'm not aware of them

 Hutson 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Martin W:

Hardened lifelong Londoner here and personally I wouldn't get on a bus on a tube strike day unless it was absolutely unavoidable.

OP Martin W 04 Aug 2022

Thanks all, I rather thought it would be a bad idea.

We've actually taken a bit of a punt and brought our booking for the RA Summer Exhibition forward one day to the 19th (which they were happy to do at no charge).  That is still a national rail strike day, but hopefully the tubes & buses will be less awful (allowing that some commuters will be using them as alternatives to national rail).

Our original train booking on the 18th cannot be changed, so we've had to book another pair of singles for the day before.  However, if the train we originally booked on ends up being cancelled then we'll get that one refunded.  So fingers crossed the only additional cost will be one extra night in the Tottenham Hale Premier Inn (chosen because it's within walking distance of the wedding venue).

It also looks like there should be enough to keep us amused in the local area on the Friday, such as Walthamstow Marshes and the William Morris museum.  So we can stroll about at leisure while feeling sorry for all the folks stuck in bus queues.

In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Cycling would have been an option for me but, unfortunately, definitely not for the missus.

 Hutson 04 Aug 2022
In reply to Martin W:

I hope you still manage to have a lovely time.

(Bus queues...ha...rugby scrum more like...)

In reply to Martin W:

Last train strike I made the mistake of making plans across the city after work.

The trains ran which got me there fine, then on the way back they had finished and I got the bus. It was slightly busier than expected but getting a bus at a weekend at 1am is by far worse the rest of the year.

Crack on and enjoy your time, just leave extra time in your plans incase you have a deadline.

OP Martin W 04 Aug 2022

Thank you for the kind wishes.  We are feeling a lot more relaxed about the trip now that we've re-jigged it to avoid the worst of the uncertainties i.e. those that would have had the greatest  likelihood of causing it not to happen at all, or of leaving us feeling wrung out and fed up at the end of it all!

In reply to Martin W:

Maybe not the bus but during the last train strikes I was in London the entire week and ended up getting the Thames/Uber boat loads. Definitely worthwhile checking out the timetable, wasn't too expensive by London public transport standards and its way more fun/nicer than the bus/tube.

Appreciate it might not get you to directly to Tottenham, but for anywhere thats on the Thames it's great 

Post edited at 15:54
OP Martin W 05 Aug 2022
In reply to birks3746:

I did look in to the riverbus when it looked like we might have to try to get to the RA on the tube strike day.  It seemed feasible taking the Greater Anglia train to Liverpool street, then walking down to Tower Pier to catch a westbound riverbus (and vice verse at the end of the day).  But I did suspect that a sufficient number of displaced tube users might have been canny enough to pursue the same option as to make it unreliable time-wise (the RA tickets have a fixed arrival timeslot).  I would expect that they are pretty strict about not exceeding their rated loading capacity on the boats, so if it was really busy you might end up having to let a number of them go past before finally getting on one.

We may yet use the riverbus on the Thursday, though, now that we've got our RA tickets changed.

In reply to Martin W:

I second the recommendation for Santander bikes. Get the phone app so you can find them, they are all over the place. I work in central London and use them pretty much every day, because they are so much more fun than the tube.


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