Chaotic rush-hour scenes as London Tube staff strike

Drivers are staging 24-hour walkout in protest at pay and plans for a new 24-hour service due to start in September


Afp July 09, 2015
Early morning commuters form queues to board buses at Victoria station during a tube strike in London. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON: London's roads, buses and overland trains struggled to cope in Thursday's morning rush hour as commuters battled into work in the face of London Underground's first strike shutdown since 2002.

Many of the major trunk roads into the capital were log-jammed and there were chaotic scenes at bus stops and overland train stations as passengers sought alternative ways to get to work on time.

A notice providing strike information is seen behind closed shutters at St Paul's underground station during a tube strike in London. PHOTO: AFP

Twitter users posted pictures of overcrowded train platforms and long queues outside the stations while one commuter described scenes of "absolute carnage" on the buses.

Read: Doctors, nurses on strike following argument

Taxi firm Uber reported demand was "off the charts!" with fares almost trebling as a result.

The gates of Brixton underground station are locked with a chain and padlocks during a tube strike in London. PHOTO: AFP

Drivers are staging the 24-hour walkout in protest at pay and plans for a new 24-hour service due to start in September.

Commuters rushed home ahead of the start of the strike at 6:30 pm (1730 GMT) on Wednesday, as unions mounted picket lines outside stations and Transport for London (TfL) began reporting delays.

Protesters from the ASLEF and RMT unions stand at the locked gates of Brixton underground station during a tube strike in London. PHOTO: AFP

A full shutdown came into force on Thursday, and TfL has warned that disruptions to the British capital's public transport could continue into Friday.

Transport for London, the local government organisation responsible for most aspects of London's transport system, said it would lay on 200 extra buses and more bicycle rental hubs, although it also posted walking maps of London on its website.

Early morning commuters form queues to board buses at Victoria station during a tube strike in London. PHOTO: AFP

"Londoners who own a bike are encouraged to cycle to work," the network administrator said in a statement.

To reach the Wimbledon tennis tournament, which ends this weekend, TfL said it was organising a taxi-sharing service from the nearest train station.

Prime Minister David Cameron's spokeswoman on Wednesday called the strike "unacceptable and unjustified", while London Mayor Boris Johnson said it was "politically motivated".

Commuters cross the river Thames using the Millennium footbridge during a tube strike in London. PHOTO: AFP

New all-night Underground services are due to start in September and drivers have been offered a pay increase, which was rejected by union leaders on Wednesday.

Read: Child dies as NICH staff continues protest

London Underground's managing director Mike Brown said an all-night Tube service would support jobs and boost the city's economy, adding that the offer had been "remarkably fair".

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