/ Travel & Leisure

Tube disruptions make my life a misery

'Mind the gap' sign on Underground platform

London Underground, more like London’s ‘disrupterground’. Endless weekend closers, countless delays and impending strikes all damage the Tube – a transport system that should be the envy of the world.

My London life has been both enhanced and aggravated by the Tube. I rely on it to get to work, but if something goes wrong, a quick journey can career into hours.

The Tube is a love/hate relationship for most Londoners, but there’s a strong feeling things could be much better if the London Underground (LU) just got its act together.

More Tube strikes on the way

And it looks like there are more strikes on the way, with union members voting three to one in favour of industrial action. The words ‘not again’ start to escape gritted teeth…

Though it’s easy to be angry at the strikes, there is actually good reason – 800 ticket office jobs are set to be cut. The LU claims that only one in 20 tube journeys start with a visit to the ticket office, with some offices selling fewer that 10 tickets in an hour.

That’s not ideal, but do we really want to see the dehumanisation of the Tube? Don’t we want the option of speaking to another human being when we buy our tickets?

Part of what lightens up my Tube journeys, and also what makes it so endearing to visitors, is the personal humour from train drivers. This is one of my highlights: ‘They should have these doors in the Olympics, I’ve never seen people run so fast in my life!’

Delays, disruption and disappointment

I have the slightly unfortunate pleasure of living on the Isle of Dogs, meaning I rely on both the unreliable Jubilee line and the unbearably slow DLR. So when the impending Olympics forced DLR platforms to be extended for three carriage trains, both lines were often closed on weekends. My only option? A bloomin’ bus.

Those works are all done and dusted now (I hope) but Jubilee disruptions will continue into 2011, with 14 weekend closures this year. Hell, Boris’s bikes look more attractive each day.

And when ‘upgrades’ are made they don’t even work. The ‘Jubes’ new signalling system has already caused disruption. Signal failures have forced me to tube jump to get home. Even the new Victoria line trains are ’23 times less reliable’ than the old ones. And don’t even talk to me about runaway trains.

It just seems like Tube upgrades are being done in the wrong way. Closing lines down every weekend for four years can’t be efficient. Why not close down one section of the line for a week, get the work done and then move on? Or even work during the night? As it stands, I can’t see light at the end of the tunnel.

What winds you up most about London's Tube?

Too many people, too few trains (39%, 80 Votes)

Too many scheduled closures on weekends. (26%, 53 Votes)

The trains are hot and sweaty (24%, 50 Votes)

There are always daily disruptions (11%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 205

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Comments
Member

“Dehumanisation of the Tube” – now there’s a thought!

What’s the problem in having to buy a ticket from a faceless machine that never has a bad day, always communicates clearly so I always understand it and that above all never goes on strike in a self-serving way that only ever puts everyone else out and not itself?

Better still, where’s my bike!

Member
John1905 says:
23 August 2010

Trains not running doesn’t make your life a misery – it just makes getting around town a bit harder, but there’s always a way.

TFL are trying to improve the network but this is going to take time.

Why don’t you stop moaning about insignificant stuff like this and consider what would what really make your life a misery. If your stuck for something, just type Pakistan and flood into Google.

Member

John – Of course, the title was absurd emphasis and naturally there are many more important issues in the world that really do make people’s lives a misery. Equally Which? Conversation is a place for us to cover consumer issues only. Hopefully the actual content of the article highlighted people’s grievances with the Tube.

Member

Brace yourselves – the date(s) for the next tube strikes are in. 6 September is the date to put in your diary – up to 10,000 union members could strike for 24 hours, including engineering staff and tube drivers. Until the 800 planned job cuts are stopped they could strike every week.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-11083153

In other news – £2.5 million worth of Tube refunds haven’t been claimed – remember you’re eligible for a refund if your train has been delayed by 15 minutes or more. You can claim them with these great (and much more handy) unofficial ones http://www.tubeticketrefund.co.uk/ http://www.mytubewaslate.com/

Member

On my way home from work I heard an announcement saying NINE lines are closed this bank holiday weekend. Pretty glad I’m going away or they’d be no hope of getting anywhere in London! I understand this work has to be done, but they’re practically closing half the network – not ideal for people who still have to work at the weekend.