Millions of London commuters endured travel misery on Monday, facing lengthy delays as a strike by station staff crippled the UK capital’s underground railway system.
Demand for taxi cabs, buses and cycle hire surged amid the chaos.
The 24-hour walkout by underground station staff resulted in several of central London Tube lines being closed during rush hour on Monday morning. In one of the busiest days of the year, many commuters in London were left with no option but to use other means of transportation.
All services have now closed due to strike action.
— Transport for London (@TfL) January 8, 2017
TfL staff have been handing out London bus and walking maps to people at tube stations, in their attempt to help them find a route for their destinations.
“Tube station staff who are union members are striking today, Monday 9 January. Tube services are severely reduced and some stations will be closed until the end of service today. This means that the majority of stations in Zone 1 are closed.”
TfL expects normal services to resume by the morning of Tuesday 10 January.
— Sonja Jessup (@sonjawithaj1) January 9, 2017
Tube staff have staged the walk-out over job cuts and a dispute over ticket office closures.
John Leach, RMT London regional organiser, told the BBC that the strike is related to the closure of a number of station control rooms and 834 job cuts.
Leach told the BBC’s Today programme: “I’m afraid we’re up against a brick wall because we don’t have resources.” Adding: “You can’t carry a million people more each day with 834 fewer front line station staff,”
London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, said today’s Tube strike is “totally unnecessary”, “causing misery to millions of Londoners.”
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) January 9, 2017
Steve Griffiths, chief operating officer for London Underground, was quoted by The Telegraph as saying:
“There is no need to strike. We had always intended to review staffing levels and have had constructive discussions with the unions.
“We agree that we need more staff in our stations and have already started to recruit 200 extra staff and that is likely to increase further as we work through the other areas that need to be addressed.
“Taking into account existing vacancies and natural turnover this means that over 600 staff will be recruited for stations this year. There will also be increased opportunities for promotion.”
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