Subway strike: Commuters told to expect misery Friday morning

Subway strike: Commuters told to expect misery Friday morning

London Underground services are not expected to return to ‘normal’ until mid-morning, with fewer early morning trains meaning services will be busier than usual.

Transport for London said: “Disruption will continue on the morning of Friday 11 November, with affected services expected to return to normal services by mid-morning.”

It comes after around 10,000 members of the RMT union walked out on Thursday in an ongoing dispute over pensions and the loss of up to 600 station staff.

This forced the closure of eight Tube lines – Bakerloo, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Jubilee, Metropolitan, Piccadilly, Victoria and Waterloo & City – leaving only “commuter services” running on the outer branches of the Central, District and Northern lines .

There were also problems on the London Overground, with no trains on the main commuter routes between Liverpool Street and Cheshunt, Chingford and Enfield Town.

There were long queues for buses and train services, while commuters were unable to board trains at some stations that also have metro lines due to closures.

TfL said that by 2pm on Thursday passenger numbers had been at just 10 per cent of normal demand on the Tube and down 86 per cent on the previous week when the strike took its toll.

But demand for buses increased by 16 percent, taking it to 93 percent of normal levels.

Previous subway strike days have resulted in the number of passengers using the subway dropping to as little as four percent of normal.

The Elizabeth line came to the rescue of many travelers by offering a regular service between Heathrow, Shenfield and Abbey Wood via central London.

In Liverpool Street, passenger numbers on the Elizabeth line rose by 43 per cent but fell by 30 per cent at the new Bond Street station, showing how the West End is suffering under a Tube strike.

Thameslink’s north-south route through central London was also running, but many rush hour trains were packed and unable to stop at stations such as Finsbury Park, which are run by TfL.

Members of the Unite union also took part in the strike, the sixth 24-hour strike on the Tube in 2022. The RMT had already stopped the Tube on 1 and 3 March, 6 and 21 June and 19 August.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch and former Labor shadow chancellor John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, joined a picket line at Acton Town station.

Former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn and former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott joined RMT members on a picket line at Seven Sisters station.

John Leach, the RMT’s assistant general secretary, said further strikes were “definitely” likely. The RMT’s strike mandate expires in December and union leaders are polling members to get legal approval for another six months of action.

Leach told the Standard: “If these pensions are attacked and jobs are cut and people’s contracts and employment conditions are compromised and worsened, we will continue.”

Asked who was to blame for the disruption, Leach said: “The men in power are to blame. It’s the government that is starving Transport for London of the funding it needs.

The scene at Victoria station earlier on Thursday

/ Jeremy Selwyn

“Then we have a Mayor of London who seems to want to meet everywhere but lead his staff. The staff pension fund has been put on the table in negotiations to deliver a bailout.

“The problem with that is that it depends on them having millions of pounds of savings, which means our pensions will be worse off, and we don’t have that.”

Khan said he had been forced to agree to “onerous” terms to secure £6 billion in government bailout funds for TfL.

“Nobody wants to see strike action and I have repeatedly called on the unions to call off this action and work with TfL to find a solution,” he said.

“This industrial action has a serious impact on London businesses and commuters, at a time when we are working hard to strengthen the capital’s economic recovery to help us continue to build a better, greener and more prosperous London for all.”

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