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London Tube Strike Causes Chaos

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London Tube Strike Causes Chaos

Sharon Lorimer

A strike by metro drivers wrought havoc on the streets of London, with thousands of commuters seeking alternative ways to get to work Wednesday and Thursday, and overground traffic sometimes grinding to a halt.

According to The Centre for Economics and Business Research, the strike is likely to  cost the London and wider UK economy around £110 million ($180 million) because of the loss of productivity.

Train drivers were asking for a pay rise of 5 percent, but recession-hit Londoners had very little sympathy with their demands, as many workers fear unemployment because of the recession and some accepted pay cuts.

Crowded Overground Trains

Sharon Lorimer

Overground trains were running normally but were more crowded than usual. In the bigger rail stations taxi-sharing schemes were organized and Londoners put reticence aside to help each other get to work in time.

No Sympathy

Sharon Lorimer

Striking workers were not greeted with sympathy by fellow Londoners, with many people wondering why the action was needed. A Tube driver's starting salary is more than £40,000, a station supervisor earns between £35,000 and £39,000, while a station assistant can start on £29,000.

Free Rides on the Thames

Sharon Lorimer

Authorities announced alternative travel services, with extra buses and a rise in the capacity of river services from 1,500 to 8,000 an hour, with a free peak shuttle service. Thousands of football fans struggled to get to Wembley for Wednesday's World Cup qualifier between England and Andorra.

Negotiations

Sharon Lorimer

London Underground officials were in talks at the conciliation service Acas with Bob Crow, leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union. London mayor Boris Johnson refused to back down over a plan to cut 1,000 Tube back office jobs to help to save £2.4 billion.

Two-Wheeled Dangers

Sharon Lorimer

Many Londoners chose to cycle to work, especially Thursday when the sun came out, but the chaos brought by the increased number of cars and bicycles meant the two-wheeled journey to work could be dangerous.

Stroll to Work

Sharon Lorimer

Walking was also an option taken by many, with some commuters saying, in comments to the media, that they will likely ditch their £100 ($164) a month travel cards and get to work on foot, to avoid the rush hour on public transport even after the strike.

Sardines in Buses

Sharon Lorimer

Although Transport for London sent 100 extra busses on the streets to try and make up for the Tube strike, bus stops were very busy and buses were very crowded. Hundreds of people were queuing in the street in the hope to catch a bus.

Unions Divided

Sharon Lorimer

The Tube strike was dubbed "ludicrous" by London's mayor Boris Johnson, and many commuters felt the same. Newspaper web sites were flooded with comments against the RMT, the union which organised the strike, saying tube drivers' demands were exaggerated.