A series of London Underground strikes starting this evening have posed a threat to the smooth flow of traffic with millions of Londoners bracing for a difficult times. TfL attempts to beat the strike.
More than 10,000 Tube workers will put down their tools on Monday evening to mark the beginning of one of the four one-day strikes to protest against plans to axe 800 ticketing and station jobs. Other strike dates are October 3, November 2 and November 28. The first walkout that involved nearly 200 maintenance workers began on Sunday night over pay and conditions.
The 24 hours strike is going to affect millions of commuters and chaos is set to be the order of the day as the talks between the Rail Maritime and Transport union and London Underground failed to reach any common ground between the two warring parties.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union blamed the rigidity of London Underground for the failed talks. Whereas, the officials at London Underground alleged that the RMT forced “unreasonable preconditions” on them.
The London Underground’s senior officials said that since more and more people are using self-service machines, it becomes quite natural that fewer staff members are needed at the ticket halls. The officials also promised that there will no obligatory redundancies.
Whatever may be the case, the general public of the city will feel the heat as the Tube is the most popular mode of transport and the strike is expected to cause extensive commotion across the network. The London Underground carries nearly 3 million commuters a day.
However, Transport for London (TfL) has appealed to the travellers to seek other modes of transport to evade overcrowding of few trains that will operate during the strike. Additional buses will be functional on Tuesday morning as the Transport for London hopes to beat the strike with the help of the commuters. The authorities are encouraging the public to use riverboat service, where fares will be halved.
The Mayor of London has also appealed to the people to take different modes of transport available in the region. He also added that this may not be such a huge crisis as it appears to be.
Meanwhile, TfL’s appeal to the staff members to volunteer in the attempt to keep the transport services smooth and running has triggered off a new debate as RMT has accused Transport for London of playing with the safety of commuters as the stations will be manned by people without safety licences. However, TfL assured that no member of the staff without a valid functional licence will ever be allowed to work in safety-critical areas. TfL emphasised it needed volunteers to provide information to passengers during the strike and not to do any kind of skilled or specialist job.
Following is the guide that may assist you in negotiating the strike:
There will be disturbance on all lines but the London Underground aims to run as many trains as possible. The London Underground also hopes to keep some of the stations open. There will be number of volunteers to assist passengers and offer them the best alternative travel mode.
London Overground is expected to operate smoothly but stations which have an interchange with London Underground might be affected.
Travellers are advised to use buses instead of the trains. The buses ply to more than 600 routes throughout the city. Extra services are being provided during the period of strike to deal with the increased demand.
River Services will be smooth and much larger boats will be used to cope with the augmented demand. Nearly 500 shuttle service will be added to various important points of the city.
The congestion charge will remain in operation throughout the strike to ensure smooth flow of traffic. But TfL has urged commuters to not to use their vehicles, if possible, in order to prevent traffic congestion.
Any kind of road work on any major London route will be curtailed during the strike to keep the traffic movement fine.
The public is encouraged to take to paddles during strike periods. Bicycle owners and the members of the London Cycle Hire Scheme are particularly advised to use bikes to beat the strike. Transport for London, in a unique move, has written to businesses throughout the city, asking bosses to allow staff to come on cycle to work.
People will be provided with walking maps in various parts of London, with volunteers assisting them in order to plan out their routes.