Boris Bikes part of plans to mitigate effects of London tube strike
by Annie Byrne
Venues and organisers have been racing to run contingency plans and travel advisories on their websites, as London braces itself for the latest in a long-running series of strikes by tube workers. RMT and TSSA rail unions were due to strike at 5pm, 6 September, for 24 hours.Earls Court’s website carries alternative travel advice on bus and mainline train services for visitors and exhibitors to its two shows running during the stoppage, Speciality Fine Food Fair and International Jewellery London.Over at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster, which ramped up its virtual conferencing options during last winter’s cold weather transport chaos, chief executive Ernest Vincent, underlines: “The centre will be operating normally throughout the period of the strikes. Robust contingency planning has been taking place over the past months to enable the venue to operate seamlessly, with arrangements in hand to enable staff to come to work. Where necessary, non-business critical staff will be encouraged to work remotely. The QEIICC does not expect any impact to be felt by its clients from the action.”London-based training facilities provider, Etc.venues has always made great play of its venues being close to public transport nodes. Head of marketing David Owen tells EN: “Yes, tube stations are very important to us, but all our venues are close to a range of other transport options including overground trains, DLR buses and now the new Boris bikes. We have been keeping organisers appraised of other options and are not expecting too much disruption.”The Barbican’s Samme Allen reports no events during the strike, due to the venue’s annual refurbishment. Director of third-party show organiser Consulting House, Michael Webb, emailed the 23 exhibitors for the nfp technology 2010 show at the Business Design Centre, confirming it would go ahead, although he admitted to a dilemma on whether to contact delegates. “If I write and remind them, some might think they can’t be bothered. It may do more damage than not communicating to them,” he claimed. Group exhibition director for Fresh RM, the organiser of the Speciality and Fine Food Fair 2010, Toby Wand, says regional visitors would not necessarily know about the strike before attending the show, “therefore it was important to communicate as early as possible the need to possibly change their route on the day”. Fresh RM took the decision not to provide coaches as, historically, they take as long, if not longer, than the local bus network. Over at the Brit Oval, the venue has responded to the upcoming tube strike by offering a 50 per cent reduction on car parking fees for meetings and events delegates.