Chaotic rush-hour scenes as London tube staff strike

Commuters queue for buses as tube drivers are on strike in London, Thursday, July 9, 2015. (AP)

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.

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.

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

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.

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 organization 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.

“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 organizing 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”.

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.

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”.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46