September 5, 2007

Bumper to Bumper

Bumper to bumper traffic, hoards of people walking, long queues of people trying to get into buses – a typical Indian Traffic Jam… Well for once it was not India but London – one of the world’s best capitals, which saw this sorry scene. Employees of the famous London Underground went on a 72 hour strike causing the cancellation of most Tube services - literarily paralyzing the entire transport system. The Public Transport came to the rescue, but with 2 million Londoners swarming the streets it was a nightmare.

It usually takes me about 3/4th of an hour to travel from Baker Street to Osterley with 2 Tube changes. But today, a day when I had to reach the Sky Sports News Office by 8 in the morning for a special project saw me stranded at the station with no trains to take. Believe it or not but it took me over 2 hours to reach Osterley.

There was complete disarray, seeing Crowded Buses and long Queues for cabs with trying to get just that one step closer to wherever they were headed.I was informed that this was the most extensive strike ever since June 30, 2004, when metro train drivers walked off their jobs and had shut down the entire railway. The Tube Union wants a guarantee that members won't lose jobs and pensions following Metronet's financial collapse in July.

Once onboard a bus, I overheard a couple of Indians chitchatting about London being worse than Mumbai. Yes Mumbai faces the same chaos day in and day out but, what needs to be acknowledged about London is that in there is organized chaos - despite the strike, people at the Underground were well prepared to give commuters details about alternative routes and transport measures. It was Tim (a metro staff) - if I remember correctly who informed me about the Piccadilly Line being shut and the only way I could reach office was to take bus number 27 from Baker street to Hammersmith and the H91 bus to the Sky office.

The strike is on till have to face the brunt for a of couple days more... But the worst is yet to come as I just heard that the strikes goes into phase II from the 20 of Sept. Well Thank god for me as I will be in Bristol from the 10 of Sept and would be back to London only by the 28th to take off for my Europe trip.

I am definitely feeling better after scribbling down all this as I try not to think of how many hours its going to take me to get back home. Nonetheless Hope things look up this time or as always there’s No respite!

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