Navigating London in 2016: How to get Between Meetings Efficiently?
I t's no secret that London is notorious for its traffic and travel chaos at the slightest upset to schedules or if there's an accident/emergency, be it fire, water or gas leak, roads can get shut down, stations are closed, buses diverted, then all manner of chaos ensues. This may not be a great advert for London but it's true.

The fact is it's a metropolis that spreads over 600 miles, and travelling to and from one meeting can take 4 hours, not counting the minimum of an hour for the meeting itself.

So what's the best way to go?

That would depend on several factors; first being whether it's north or south London, next is the time of day, third is the distance which would then dictate what method is best.

For instance, travelling to or from Brentford to Beckton has particular issues. By car it could take less than an hour depending on the time of day; by train it could take an hour or even twice that, again depending on the time of day, bus doesn't bear thinking about.

By road is risky because they both sit on major arteries in and out of London, (the A4 and A13) It means driving through central london or around the North circular, don't bother with the Sth circular you'll get lost, even a sat nav will enter Bermuda Triangle mode.

London is over two thousand years old, you could be stuck on a bus for 40 mins and only have travelled a 100 yards on a street built for a horse and cart. The underground map is misleading because it infers that the stations are equidistant when they're not, so you could Walt between one station and another quicker that it would take you to get to and from street level. Combined overground/underground is an option but you could come unstuck with journey time because of the gap between trains to your destination, they're not underground trains which run every 5 mins or so. Some trains are half hourly or even longer if there's a cancellation or delays.

Another issue to factor in us whether there is a sporting event happening then you might need to avoid some areas because sharing a tube or road when there are 40-50 thousand fans commuting can seriously hamper your journey to a meeting. On one occasion in London, a colleague was caught in traffic and wondered why it was so congested on a midweek, after rush hour. The fact was on that day in London there were five international friendly football matches, none of which involved the home nations. So there were fans of ten footballing nations on the move in the city. That's an extra 250,000 commuters (50,000 average per stadium)

Moving through central London you might want to consider the changing of the guard every morning or whether there's a demonstration in parliament square or Trafalgar Square, whether it's the state opening of Parliament or a state visit. These all gave road closures or means sharing the streets with the household cavalry and security services attached.

The truth is there is no hard and fast rule to getting from a to b in London; so if time is money here is our guide to getting around efficiently.

Don't fight against the flow move with it, you will save energy and stress. Move off peak, so you can do some work on the way. Arrive early and park yourself in a coffee shop and work there. Stagger your meetings. You can realistically have more than two meetings if your the one that's travelling if you plan meetings along your journey. Plan alternate routes because one may quickly get snarled up forcing you to use an unplanned alternative. To have an alternative already planned can save you time and you will beat the crowds.

If you follow this advice you will enjoy your journey and be able to look up and watch the world around you, and on any day or night in london you will see the world of people's so why not enjoy it. Makes living here so much the better.


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