London

Tube Strike: Commuters take the network shut-down in their stride

Commuters at Victoria, Liverpool Street and on a train at West Ham Image copyright AFP/PA

Commuters have been battling their way through the capital after the whole London Underground network was shut down by a 24-hour strike.

For those who are in London on a one-off trip, navigating the Tube network can seem daunting but do-able.

However, trying to work out the same journey on foot or by bus seems a step too far.

"I have no idea where I am going," said Victoria Millar, clutching her mobile phone outside Waterloo station. "Do you know how to get to Farringdon?"

The 21-year-old, from Reading, is on work experience where she is helping to trace missing beneficiaries who are entitled to receive money from someone who has died.

Her first task this morning is to try and navigate a map app on her phone to trace her route to work.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Victoria Millar, from Reading, was trying to work out how to get to Farringdon from Waterloo

"I don't think they realise they're affecting so many people and it's not just Londoners, people coming from outside don't know their way around.

"The stewards have been helpful, but there is only so much they can do if everyone is asking them questions."

"Number 139, number 139," shouts a steward at a bus stop at Waterloo. It is 07:30 BST and there's already a queue of people snaking round the corner.

Wearing a bright pink vest emblazoned with the words Transport for London, another steward admits it has been busy but he has not been verbally abused or assaulted by anyone - yet.

Reena is cradling her pregnant stomach as she sits at the bus stop, looking at the line of people.

"I've been here about 30 minutes. I am waiting for the bus but I can't really stand in my condition," she said.

Image copyright PA
Image copyright AP

Her sympathy for the London Underground workers, who are taking action in a dispute over pay and conditions, is running thin.

"I think a lot of employees are faced with difficult decisions they may not like but you have to get on with it," she said.

The station is beginning to fill up and you can start to feel some tension in the air.

"I'm already running late and I am really stressed, said 43-year-old Isatu Gando, who's had to travel from Thornton Heath to Waterloo via Clapham Junction.

"I've got a training day and I'm not sure if they will let me in if I'm late.

"How can one set of people cause all this when they go on strike?"

Other Londoners seem to be taking the day in their stride, with some even enjoying it.

Image caption Three commuters and three different journeys - Dee is walking, Peter is cycling and Elisa is taking the bus

"It's been quite fun," said Peter Mullett, whose journey from Archway to Westminster has involved a train, bus, a bike and some walking.

"I quite like the change in journey," he admitted.

"If it was raining I might be in a different mood though."

The 55-year-old civil servant seems to be the only one smiling as he picks up his red cycle hire bike.

"I didn't think I was going to get one," said Matt Evans as he wheels one of the last hire bikes from the docks.

"I first took one of these at the last Tube strike and now I use them all the time.

"I think this is good, it makes people think about exploring London above ground."

Elisa Neponucno, who is trying to catch a bus to the City, has sympathy with the strikers.

"If this is the only way they can do it - they have to stand up for their rights," she said.

Dee Trivedi, who's walking from Waterloo to Bank, is not so sure.

"Their war is with Boris Johnson, it's not with the capital," she said.

"I don't know what this strike is going to achieve."

Judging by the lengthy taxi queue at Waterloo - cab drivers might be the only winners in this dispute?

Image caption Steve Pearce supports the strike action but said the streets were in "absolute chaos"
Image copyright PA

"No, I don't think so, it's been absolute chaos," said black cab driver Steve Pearce.

He has just travelled about 10 miles from Wimbledon to Haymarket after being hailed down by a traveller who needed to get into the centre of town.

"I sympathise with the union members - if you're not getting anywhere you've got to stand up and shout."

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites