Original article below:
Wednesday morning, I logged onto my computer to read the two words I really didn't want to read: Tube strike.
Over the last eight years, I've experienced many LU rush hours and a crippled Tube, but overall, I've managed to avert the full blown strikes. Yet, there it was: three days of our romantic escape glaring back at me from the screen listing the upcoming strike dates. $%#@&!*&%!#$@!!!!!!!
While I fully understand that stiff-upper-lip London finds a way to go on amidst these strikes, and alternative transportation options will be beefed up for the strike, I also know that 3.4 million displaced commuters have to go somewhere. This translates to long waits in bus queues and/or traffic:
I think this kind of frustration is a bit different for locals versus travelers. Not that it doesn't suck for locals as well; excessive commuting traffic always sucks. But excessive traffic on holiday sucks even more. Londoners didn't save for a year to be there, Londoners aren't trying to make the most of a measly few days they've looked forward to for months, and Londoners most certainly didn't spend thousands of dollars and fly twenty hours round trip in excruciating economy-class to be there. To Londoners, those ridiculous hour-long bus and taxi queues are a headache after another work day. To travelers on a limited schedule and budget, these long waits could actually sabotage the long-awaited and long-saved-for vacation.
While we're still clinging to hope that the talks announced Friday will continue and rectify the situation entirely (oh please, oh please, oh please!), I've also come up with an entirely new Plan B, just in case. It basically consists of walking to any and all places of interest within a few miles of our hotel for the first three days we're in the city and praying to God that it doesn't weep rain. It means we'll have to totally scratch several looked-forward-to spots off our list, but it also means we won't waste time in lines a mile long just to cram onto a overcrowded bus or spend an insane amount of money we don't have in a taxi stuck in horrible traffic.
I have to admit, while I support the basic principles behind unions and don't think anyone should be sacked unjustly, I am now totally on board with the millions of Londoners that believe the Tube strikes are becoming far too excessive. Besides this lovely encounter, three of my past London trips barely escaped strikes, as well. Too many too often, and the point becomes completely lost on everyone. Strikes can't become a crutch, or they'll lose their effectiveness entirely.