Boris Bikes part of plans to mitigate effects of London tube strike

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 venue and organiser website was ready with
alternative travel advice on bus and mainline train services, for visitors and
exhibitors to its two shows running during the stoppage, the 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, and indeed throughout any future periods
of industrial unrest. 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. Non-business critical staff will be encouraged
to work remotely; however, 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 CN: “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.”

GM at Ironmongers Hall in The City, Ed
Bolling, has asked his staff to arrive early and use mainline services where
possible. “We have also contacted our clients to see if we can help with
contingency plans on the day,” he adds.

The Barbican’s Samme Allen reports no events
during the strike, due to the venue’s annual refurbishment.

GM at the Strand Palace Hotel, David
MacRae, describes the strikes as “disappointing for London, with September a
busy time for the industry, particularly with Fashion Week coming up.
Fortunately, we are well served by Charing
Cross so we don’t except any major
disruption”.

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, advising them it would go ahead and
suggested alternative travel arrangements.

Webb admitted to a dilemma on whether to
contact delegates: “If I write and remind them [visitors], some might think they
can’t be bothered. It may do more damage than not communicating to them,” he
claimed.

Industry supplier Thorns’ Group Sales
Director, Clair Whitecross, adds: “Fortunately for the events sector the
proposed action by the RMT and TSSA unions – both on September 6 and
subsequently in October and November – has been targeted on early days of the
week. While this inevitably causes inconvenience for some event organisers and
visitors, it thankfully avoids those days of the week – such as Fridays and
Saturdays – that have traditionally seen the greatest concentration of events in
the diary. 

“As with previous national and regional
transport strikes, the key has always been to plan ahead. Most large-scale jobs
have a lead-in period for suppliers lasting days or even weeks. While deliveries
would never be made by tube anyway, it’s important to steer deliveries away from
strike periods, for fear that roads might become clogged by people being forced
to change from their traditional methods of
transport.”

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.

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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