101 reasons to love cycling in London #18 - it's reliable!

London's busiest tube line, the Northern Line, will be ensnared in the throes of two years of early closures, weekend suspensions and a reduced service under a proposal by Tube lines, the for-profit London Underground maintenance firm according to yesterday's Times.  The 800,000 people who use the line everyday will be forced onto other Underground routes and bus services, many of which are already operating at or above capacity.  This news come after a 12.7% rise in bus fares and a 3.9% rise in Tube fares earlier this year.

You could drive instead of course, but the Central London congestion charge is due to rise this year to £10.  A day. (That's $16 USD a day for our American friends, or $18 Australian dollars or E11.50 for our cousins across the water.)

I've written here before how much you can save in tube fares, or not spend on the congestion charge every year.  Not to mention how you can decrease your carbon foot print.

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These are carrots, not sticks, to get people cycling.  But here in time-poor London, reason 18 of 101 reasons to love cycling in our great capital might just turn out to be one of the most important: it's reliable (as well as saving you a stack of cash, being good for you, good for the environment and not to mention jolly good fun.)  With a sturdy bike, a little bit of chain grease and a good set of tyres there is very little to stop you riding every day.  You could endure two year of unmitigated Northern Line chaos.  Or you could be better off by bike.

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5 comments:

thereverent said...

The Northern line closures will start getting more people thinking about cycling.
Although I think people over estimate the distances in London as buses move so slowly and on a tube its difficult to tell how fast you are going. Maybe more publicity about how quickly you can get around would help.

I'm sure Bob Crowe and the RMT will give cycling another boost when the weather gets good again (probably during the world cup). I'm sure the tube strikes are one of the biggest things converting people to cycling.

I currently commute on the Northern line half of the week and cycle the other half (work reasons). If the disruptions get bad I'll be moving to bike the whole time.

Mark said...

I agree that it's really hard to gauge the distances between Tube stations in London - when I first moved here I thought the city was HUGE - I was shocked to find it's only about 5 miles wide (west london to east london) and can be cycled in half an hour or so.

It is a sad state of affairs when Bob Crow and terrorism on our transport network are the primary reasons for the biggest jumps in cycling levels... but yes, I am certain that this planned closure of the Northern line and further industrial action by staff later in the year will get more people on their bikes.

This is a good thing, but the usual caveat about making sure you know what you are doing before flinging yourself onto the road system stil goes! :o)

Anne said...

True in London, and true 6000 miles away in Portland! Increased fares, decreased service, construction interruptions: these were the very things that catapulted me from "maybe I'll ride my new bike to work sometimes" to "100% cycle commuter".

Best thing that ever happened to me. I hope lots of Londoners have the same experience.

Mark said...

Anne - this is one of the primary reasons I think cycling blogs are great - we can share similar experiences with people jumping through the same hoops thousands of miles away and, where appropriate, share in the solutions too!

I think transport chaos will do a lot for cycling too, which is sad as I'd like to think people would get on their bikes because it's a sensible alternative as oppose to the last resort. Still, whatever gets people cycling is a good thing I suppose!

thereverent said...

Transport chaos might start someone cycling, but what will keep them going will be the all the other benifits.

Often people just need to try it a few times (hence more people taking it up after the bombings in 2005).