Page last updated at 14:05 GMT, Wednesday, 10 June 2009 15:05 UK

Workers battle through travel chaos

By Colette Hibbert
BBC News

Bus queue
There were long queues of passengers outside Victoria station

As the queues for taxis and buses leaving from Victoria station got longer, so did the faces of those waiting.

On the first morning of a 48-hour strike on London Underground, many people had to resort to alternative means of travel.

Perhaps surprisingly, at about 0800 BST the area around the station was fairly calm.

But within an hour, things had changed as it became clear that many of those trying to complete their journey without the Tube would be frustrated.

And shortly before 1000 BST, the arrival of the rain only made matters worse.

Lots of people are trying to keep their job, let alone ask for a pay rise
Commuter Marcus Jackson

However, millions of people were not prepared to endure long bus and taxi queues and instead walked, cycled or even roller-skated into work.

Katharine Goodison, 40, a hat-maker, who lives in east London but works in Victoria, cycled in.

She said: "I am self-employed and can't let my clients down, so I had to come into work today.

"I am very annoyed however about the strike, as I believe the Tube staff are being very unreasonable and irresponsible."

Marcus Jackson, 48, lives in Hertfordshire and works in Gatwick, also decided to cycle into Victoria, in his case from King's Cross.

Commuter tries to find her best route to work
Many commuters used maps to find the best route to walk into work

He said: "I have been given a 0% pay rise this year and I think what they are asking for is unfair.

"Lots of people are trying to keep their job, let alone ask for a pay rise."

For those cyclists who felt they needed help with their journeys, Transport for London (TfL) organised escorted rides - "BikeTube" - into central London.

Led by TfL volunteers, escorted groups of about 20 cyclists could be seen making their way across central London.

Tim Highman, 41, from Highbury, north London, was one of the commuters who was able to use the Tube.

He came into central London on the Victoria line, which is operating a limited service during the strike.

"Ordinarily I am a strong believer in unions," he told BBC News.

"On this occasion however, the fact that the Tube staff are calling for no redundancies is naive due to the economic climate we are in.

"So I am in fact very irritated at the fact that they have decided to strike."



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