NAVIGATORS have been warned they could face travel chaos again today amid the misery of the Tube strike.
Britons have been told to avoid traveling at certain times today after Transport for London (TfL) workers left.
Staff are on strike to “stop job cuts, defend our conditions and protect our pensions”, says RMT.
They are also attacking TfL bosses for “complying with Tory demands” over the conditions imposed on short-term financial bailouts during the pandemic, which referred to these three areas.
But they will return to work at 8am today, meaning commuters should avoid the metro until then.
Yesterday there was confusion and anger after the TfL website and app wrongly suggested some services were still running – only for passengers to find out they were in fact suspended.
Queues piled up as travelers tried to enter train stations before pouring into bus stops and taxi ranks.
Some Londoners have even compared the battle for an Uber to the Hunger Games, with delays of an hour and a half for a car.
Once they found their vehicle, they faced queues on the roads. According to TomTom, congestion was 41% higher at peak times than at the same time last week.
Up to 4,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union have quit their jobs in a bitter row over jobs and pensions.
And today’s action could be just the start of a dreaded ‘summer of discontent’.
Unions recently threatened a nationwide railway strike, which would force Network Rail to operate on a skeletal timetable to reserve tracks for the movement of goods.
Officials also warned they could walk out, disrupting ports, courts and airports.
Boris Johnson’s spokesman said today: ‘This type of action is deeply disappointing and it is not what the public wants to see, not what we want to see for businesses still trying to recover after the pandemic, with people’s lives being disrupted in London.
“Obviously industrial relations at TfL is the business of TfL and the Mayor, but it is clear that under the current funding regulations TfL must take all reasonable steps to avoid industrial action.”
The DLR, London Overground and trams are still running, although services are packed.
Commuters told of their ‘bloody nightmare’ yesterday morning.
Tracy Brown, 45, a mum-of-three from Acton, said: “Getting three kids ready in the morning for school is hard enough without a subway strike making it harder.
“I’m sick of running around to get my kids to school on time because some people are so greedy.”
Paul Glennon, 52, a construction worker in central London, said: “It’s a reality check for all of us. No more parties and parades.
“I spent my whole morning riding and waiting for crowded buses in the rain. A bloody nightmare.”
Others were left furious and confused by TfL’s travel advice.
Commuters crowded around the entrance to Waterloo station’s underground after TfL’s website advised traveling between 8am and 6pm on Monday.
However, when they arrived they found all entrances closed.
THE MISERY OF THE TUBE
One traveler said, “So the information online should be the correct information that allows people to plan their trip.”
There was also misinformation about the TfL Go app, which incorrectly planned people’s journeys as though certain lines were still running.
A weary commuter tweeted: ‘If you assumed Finsbury Park tube stop was open because the TfL website said so… it’s not.
Another added: ‘TfL app and website showing Elizabeth line running as normal, when in fact it doesn’t stop at Liverpool Street.
There is also confusion over the reasoning behind the strikes.
TfL bosses say there are no proposals to change workers’ pensions or conditions, and no one will lose their jobs.
Instead, they say they have proposed that 500 to 600 positions go unfilled as they become vacant as people leave or change jobs.
THE FURY OF TRAVELERS
But the RMT union said that under current proposals 600 jobs will be lost, labor agreements will be torn up and the looming threat to pensions remains.
Andy Lord, TfL’s chief operating officer, said: “I would like to apologize to London for the impact this strike will have on travel.
“We know this is going to be detrimental to London and the economy, at a time when public transport is playing a crucial role in the capital’s recovery.
“While our aim is always to help everyone get around London when they want, the expected impact of the RMT’s action means we have to advise people to only travel if necessary, as many stations can be closed.
“Alternatives to the metro, including the bus and train networks, are likely to be much busier than usual and we expect the severe disruption caused by this strike to continue into the morning of Tuesday 7 June.
“No changes have been proposed to pensions and no one has lost or will lose their job as a result of the proposals we have made.
“Working with us to find a solution is the best course of action, avoiding the disruption this strike will cause to Londoners and the economy.”
Metro alternatives, including bus and train networks, are likely to be much busier than usual
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “We demand a direct face-to-face meeting with Mayor Sadiq Khan to settle this mess.
“There is no point in our union continuing to sit in front of management representatives who have neither the desire nor the authority to negotiate a settlement, when the power rests with the mayor.”
Richard Burge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce, lambasted the unions over the strikes.
“We are extremely disappointed that the RMT has called for a mass walkout by TfL workers close to the Queen’s Jubilee weekend, when London will be full of visitors,” he said.
“The past two years have hit London disproportionately and the capital is desperately trying to regain some sense of normality after two tumultuous years.
“This strike now puts TfL in the position of having to recommend that Londoners work from home.
“Ultimately, this will only hurt London’s economy and it’s time for TfL to settle its dispute with the RMT so we can start building prosperity again and show the world that London is an open business. “
RMT members on the metro are also taking action barring a strike on Saturday July 10. Station staff cannot work overtime, which could lead to station closures.