Friday, October 22, 2010

What Public Transportation

(This was written on Thursday 21 October 2010.)

London is said to have one of the best networks of public transportation in the world, and I have to admit that I have always been able to get to my destination - eventually - despite planned engineering works and unplanned obstacles.  However.  However!  This week has been a disater for TFL.

(A little bit of background: to get to work in the morning, I leave my house by 9 at the latest.  The walk to the tube takes fifteen minutes.  I hop on the Northern line at Clapham South and take it a few stops northbound to Stockwell, where I change to the Victoria line northbound.  I transfer at Green Park to the Jubilee line northbound which takes me to Swiss Cottage, and I'm in the office by 10.  In theory.  The whole thing takes an hour, but it's relatively painless - as I don't have to be at work till 10 I generally miss the crush of rush hour.  When I've aimed to arrive at work at 8:30 or 9 I've been demolished by the crowds.  During the worst of rush hour, you sometimes have to wait on the platform as two or three or more trains go by because you physically can't squish onto the carriage.)

On Monday, the Jubilee line was completely shut down because of a power failure.  This wouldn't have been a huge problem except that they didn't tell us.  At Green Park we were advised that we couldn't transfer to the Jubilee line but didn't say that it was closed, so I figured that with a bit of maneuvering I could make it to Swiss Cottage by switching from the Victoria line to the Bakerloo line at Oxford Circus and then taking the Bakerloo up to Baker Street, where I could hop onto the Jubilee.  But no.  Upon arriving at Baker Street Station we were informed that the entire Jubilee line was out of service.  [Expletive.]  Luckily, I was able to take a bus straight from Baker Street to Swiss Cottage and so only arrived at work 15 minutes late, but still, if you reread this paragraph carefully, you'll see that my journey included three Tube lines and a bus and took 75 minutes.

A pain in the you-know-what, right?  Wait till you hear about Tuesday.

On Tuesday the Victoria line shut down - while I was on the Victoria line.  Luckily, we were at Vauxhall Station and not between stations (I pity the literally thousands of people who had to walk in the dark through Tube tunnels to make it to a station) but at the beginning even the Tube staff didn't know what was going on.  There was a defective train at Finsbury Park, but I think they thought that it would get going eventually because at first the announcer told us to hang tight as we'd be moving again soon.  Twenty minutes later we were informed that, actually, no one was going anywhere via the Victoria line and we'd all better find other options.  I grabbed a bus from Vauxhall Station over the bridge to Victoria Station, another bus from Victoria Station to the Baker Street Station, and a third bus from Baker Street to Swiss Cottage.  Outcome: two Tube lines, three buses, and a journey of an hour and forty-five minutes.  [Expletive, expletive, expletive.]

Wednesay was fine.  Cue sigh of relief.  And this morning - well, I wasn't affected, but the Jubilee line was closed again between Waterloo and Green Park because of God-knows-what.

The moral of the story:  the Tube sucks.  Get it together, TFL!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love reading your thoughts and suggestions! Please do leave a comment so we can get to know each other better.