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Transport in London in general
Member Name: pucker2
Transport in London in general
Date: 19/12/01, updated on 19/12/01 (31 review reads)
Advantages: Pleasant staff, Excellent sights, Comfortable with good facilities
Disadvantages: Less boats provided in the evening
Tube strikes are something that are often threatened and rarely fulfilled but during the last academic year Londoners have been unfortunate enough to have to suffer two of them.
The first of these was horrendous - as I'm sure was the intention. There was complete chaos as men and women who have spent every day of their working life in the City suddenly realised that they would have to dust off their A-Z and don trainers in order to make it into work on time. Those who did not were left cramming the pavement, in crowds five people deep, in an attempt to catch a bus and then cursing at the bus conductors who were really not paid to deal with crowd control.
Taxis were a rare commodity as well but it wasn't raining so I was happy to walk. The journey from Liverpool Street to St James' Park only took around 40 minutes but it was made all the more enjoyable by the fact that everyone else was getting so stressed. I actually watched an argument break out when one very smart, middle-aged man was told that there was no room for him on the bus (which, might I add, was clearly bursting at the seams).
Obviously, they homeward journey was not such a pleasant experience and the novelty of a bracing stroll had well and truly worn off and I just wanted to go home. So, when the second tube strike came along I decided that I would find a better way of dealing with it.
When my train pulled in at Liverpool Street, on the day of the second strike, I wandered down to Tower Pier (next to Tower Bridge) where I had heard there would be a ferry. There those lovely people at City Cruises had laid on a complimentary service that stopped at Blackfriars, Embankment, Westminster and Waterloo - perfect! It was even better than that. The queues went down very quickly and the staff were incredibly friendly. I decided to listen to my inner child and headed straight for the top deck where I encountered many more excited people discussing the various sigh
ts and jostling for the seats with the best views.
If, however, you did have to work then there were plenty of chairs and tables inside along with toilets and a coffee/snack bar! Not to mention the fact that smoking was permitted on the top deck, which I gather many people saw as a huge advantage.
As the boat arrived at its first stop, I observed from my privileged position a strange half smile on the faces of many. These people who had not only avoided the tube-strike disruption but had experienced a far more pleasurable journey than they would have done had the tube been running. I know it put me in a good mood for the whole day - perhaps due to the excitement of doing the same thing on the way home!
The boats for the return journey were not quite as efficient, as they were laid on for the tourists rather than just the commuters, but there were still plenty of seats. Also, we were treated to a running commentary - the majority of which I was unaware of - along with more tea and snacks just at the time when we all needed it most.
All in all, I cannot speak highly enough about the City Cruise service and staff and I have to admit to being slightly disappointed whenever the subsequent tube strikes have been cancelled!
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