|Travel Hardship As Commuters Battle Tube Strike|
Long delays on roads as many people decided to drive
Commuters battled to get to and from work today as members of the RMT and TSSA embarked on the first of two planned Tube strikes over the planned closure of ticket offices and redundancies.
Many people described long waits and queues for tubes and buses, several of stations were closed, and there was traffic congestion as people decided to drive to work.
On the District Line, TfL said services were operating between Wimbledon and Upminster approximately every six minutes and between High Street Kensington and Ealing Broadway every fifteen minutes. There was no service on the rest of the line. A number of stations were closed including Embankment, Aldgate East and South Kensington- the latter reopened in the afteroon. Tfl warned that they might have to close stations if there was overcrowding.
The Piccadilly Line was badly affected with no service operating through the central area. TfL planned to operate trains between Acton Town and Heathrow Terminals 1,2 and 3 but not Four.
Transport for London (TfL) said that a third of services were operating with 70 per cent of stations open as London Underground drafted in hundreds of back office staff and managers to support non-striking drivers.
Ealing Broadway station - photo on twitter by laura scfc
The transport company said it had laid on extra buses and river services and staff kept a constant update for commuters on its Twitter sites. However many commmuters complained that they could not get seats on crowded buses. However the river service operated well according to one Chiswick commuter.
Roads in the city werre busier with increased traffic and congestion was reported throughout the day on the A40, Putney Bridge and at Trafalgar Square- the congestion charge remained in place.
Several commuters took to social media to vent their frustration. Locals on Twitter described taking "an hour to get from Chiswick to Hammersmith"; one said " Turnham Green is Purgatory, Earl's Court is Hell ; another comment - " Been on a bus for two hours" ; or " A4 awful and traffic heavy on 316".
The strike went into operation on Tuesday night at 9.30 pmand caused major disruption during the night with most lines suspended or suffering delays.
London Underground announced that 450 staff had already applied for voluntary redundancy leading one London Assembly member to describe the strikes as “bonkers”.
LU Managing Director, Mike Brown said: “All Tube stations will remain staffed and controlled at all times when services are operating, and we’ll be introducing a 24-hour service at weekends during 2015. In future, there will be more staff in ticket halls and on platforms to help customers buy the right ticket, plan their journeys and to keep them safe and secure.
“We’re committed to implement these changes without compulsory redundancies and there’ll be a job for everyone at LU who wants to work for us and be flexible.”