I generally love London. I've commented as such in the past repeatedly. It’s a city that has everything from buzzing night life to vast open spaces of green and blue. I love exploring it and I’m proud to say that I know some areas quite well. I've met Londoners that only know the area where they grew up or work and nothing else. They’re not even familiar with the centre. It’s a funny feeling some people maintain of the South versus the North, or the East versus the West. I admit that there are areas not really worth visiting unless there is a specific reason, that don’t have that much to offer. London though is so vast and it’s very difficult to actually get to know all of it well.
I've lived in the centre part of the city as a student, in the North, the West and now the South part. Being an outdoors runner I've been through streets that connect various areas together. You can’t really know a place unless you've walked it up and down many times. And I can say, I generally love London.
Then, there are days like today!
Since yesterday night, the London Underground is on strike until Friday morning. For a city of this proportions, not having tube working is crippling. From a quick online search I found out that around 3.2 million passengers a day travel on average on its trains. Imagine what happens when the service is disrupted that badly during rush hours! The strike is organised by RMT (staff union) because the London mayor announced that he’ll lay off almost a 1000 ticket office staff to save money. He wants to hire more train drivers to operate the tube during the whole night on Fridays and Saturdays. He also believes that it’s better to have staff on the gates of each station than people at the tills. Passengers can learn how to use the ticket machines. So, lots of tube stations today and tomorrow will remain closed. Some trains will be running, but not stopping in lots of stations along the way. Public will not know which ones. There are some lists on the TfL website, but TV news mentioned that they’re not accurate.
I’m not going to comment on the validity of the strike and who’s right, the RMT or the local government. The leader of RMT and the mayor are in some kind of personal vendetta affecting however millions of people. I had it somewhat easy. I got up an hour earlier and took a train to work. Not the route I normally take. I walked 20 minutes extra and went to work. Since I arrived earlier, I plan on leaving earlier. I have my gear with me and plan to run the 15.8 km home. I believe I’ll be fine. However, not everybody is as fortunate. The evening rush hour affect more people than the morning one. From around 5 pm till 7 pm, it will be hell on the stations and bus stops of Central London. We've seen it before and will see it again. People get frustrated and act irrational. It will be the survival of the fittest. In cases like this, I hate London and the amount of people in it. I just hope it all goes well.