As regular readers of CD-Traveller will know, I returned to the UK last summer after a stint overseas.While out living in the far east, the metro was one of my Beijing bete noirs and I thought (owing to the crowded carriages) for good reason.
But after the tube chaos that has ensued in London over the last week or so, Beijing’s subway system is one I would kill for.
It’s been a hellish seven days for Londoners – especially those forced to ride the Jubilee line (the silver one which, worryingly, is also the principle tube line for the 2012 Olympics, serving the stadium at Stratford). London’s charismatic mayor, Boris Johnson, has spent some £13 million on upgrading the Jubilee line: it hasn’t been money well spent. Yesterday, Jubilee line services – used by more than 650,000 passengers a day – were suspended between Willesden Green and Stanmore, with severe delays over the remainder of the route. The worse part? Sadly this seems to be the rule rather than the exception.
Transport for London say that yesterday’s chaos was the result of a late finish to weekend engineering work. I say it is simply unacceptable. Londoners are facing delays on a daily basis yet paying sky high fares (as a result of the price hike in January, my daily travel card now costs £15.80 – not exactly peanuts).
If you’d asked me before Christmas who would win May’s mayoral election, I would have answered that Livingstone was destined to finish last. However come February 2012 and I am feeling rather differently: unless the flaxen haired one gets a grip of the transport system, City Hall could well become a no go for BoJo post May 3.