COMMUTERS are facing travel chaos again tonight amid Tube strike misery – and tomorrow morning’s journey will be affected too.
“Fed up” Brits returning to the office after the four-day bank holiday have faced huge delays as Transport for London (TfL) workers walk out.
The strikes won’t end until 8am tomorrow, meaning those heading home tonight and back in again on Tuesday must brace for more trouble.
Downing Street has blasted the “deeply disappointing” decision today after cops were called to stations to deal with furious Londoners and office workers were urged to stay at home.
Meanwhile, there was confusion and anger after the TfL website and app wrongly suggested some services were still operating – only for passengers to find they were actually suspended.
Queues piled up as travellers tried to get into stations before spilling out into bus stops and taxi ranks.
Some Londoners even compared the battle for an Uber to the Hunger Games, with delays of an hour-and-a-half for a car.
Once they’d tracked down their ride, they faced queues on the roads. Congestion was 41 per cent higher during rush hour than it was at the same time last week, according to TomTom.
Up to 4,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) have walked off the job in a bitter row over jobs and pensions.
And today’s action could just be the start of a feared “summer of discontent”.
Unions have recently threatened a national rail strike, which would see Network Rail forced to operate on a skeleton timetable to reserve tracks for the movement of goods.
Civil servants have also warned they could walk out, bringing disruption to ports, courts and airports.
Boris Johnson’s spokesman said today: “This sort of action is deeply disappointing and not what the public want to see, not what we want to see for businesses still trying to recover post-pandemic, people’s lives being disrupted in London.
“Obviously industrial relations at TfL are a matter for TfL and the mayor but it’s clear that under the current funding settlement 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” this morning.
Tracy Brown, 45, a mum-of-three from Acton, said: “Getting three children ready in the mornings for school is hard enough without a Tube strike making things harder.
“I am fed up of running around to get my children to school on time because some people are so greedy.”
Paul Glennon, 52, a construction worker in central London, said: “It is back to reality for all of us. No more parties and parades.
“I have spent my whole morning getting on and waiting for packed buses in the rain. Bloody nightmare.”
Others were left furious and confused at TfL’s travel advice.
Commuters crowded around the underground entrance at Waterloo station after the TfL website advised travel between 8am and 6pm on Monday.
However, when they arrived, they found all entrances closed.
One traveller said: “Then the information online should be the correct information that allows people to plan their journey.”
There was also misinformation on the TfL Go app, which wrongly planned people’s journeys as though some lines were still running.
One fed-up commuter tweeted: “If you assumed Finsbury Park tube stop was open because the TfL website said so… it’s not.”
Another added: “The TfL app and website stating the Elizabeth Line is running as normal, when in fact it isn’t stopping at Liverpool Street.”
There is also confusion about the reasoning behind the strikes.
Bosses at TfL claim there are no proposals to amend workers’ pensions or conditions, and no one will lose their jobs.
Instead, they say they’ve proposed that 500 to 600 posts won’t be filled when they become vacant as people leave or change jobs.
But the RMT union said that, under current proposals, 600 jobs will be lost, working agreements will be torn up and the looming threat to pensions remains.
Andy Lord, TfL’s chief operating officer, said: “I’d like to apologise to London for the impact this strike will have on journeys.
“We know it’s going to be damaging to London and the economy, at a time when public transport is playing a crucial role in the capital’s recovery.
“While our focus is always on helping everyone travel around London whenever they want, the expected impact of the RMT’s action means we have to advise people to only travel if necessary, as many stations may be closed.
“Alternatives to the Tube, including the bus and rail 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, June 7.
“No changes have been proposed to pensions and nobody has or will lose their job as a result of the proposals we have set out.
“Working with us to find a resolution is the best course of action, avoiding the disruption this strike will cause to Londoners and the economy.”
Alternatives to the Tube, including the bus and rail networks, are likely to be much busier than usual
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “We are demanding a direct face to face meeting with mayor Sadiq Khan to sort this mess out.
“There’s no point in our union continuing to sit opposite management representatives who have neither the inclination nor the authority to negotiate a settlement, when the power lies with the mayor.”
Richard Burge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce blasted unions over the strikes.
“We are extremely disappointed that the RMT has called for a mass walkout by TfL workers in such close proximity to the Queen’s Jubilee Weekend when London will be full of visitors,” he said.
“The last two years hit London disproportionately hard and the capital is desperately trying to claw back some sense of normality after a tumultuous two years.
“This strike now puts TfL in a position of having to recommend that Londoners work from home.
“Ultimately, this will only harm London’s economy and it is time for TfL to sort out their dispute with the RMT so we can get back to building prosperity and showing the world that London is open business.”
RMT members on the Tube are also taking action short of a strike on Saturday, July 10. Station staff may not work overtime, which could result in station closures.