Tube Strike Hits London Commuters

BBC Image - large queues at stations and bus stops

Commuters have faced major disruptions to their journey to work this morning as members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) walked out at 9pm on Monday in protest over the future of ticket offices.

The RMT and London Underground (LU) have met more than 40 times since the last 48-hour strike in February, but talks broke down on Monday.

The Guardian reported RMT acting general secretary, Mick Cash, saying: ” London Underground have dug themselves into an entrenched position and have refused to move one inch from their stance of closing every ticket office, in breach of the agreement reached previously through Acas which enabled us to suspend the previous round of action, and in flagrant violation of repeated promises from the London mayor Boris Johnson that not a single ticket office would be closed on his watch.

” RMT could have recommended the suspension of this strike action if LU had responded positively to our proposal to halt the ticket office closures and job cuts, stopping the dire impact they would have the length and breadth of London Underground.”

LU denied impact on safety and said that ticket office staff would provide a better service if they were moved to other parts of stations.

The Guardian reported The London Underground managing director, Mike Brown, saying: ” The RMT leadership appear to remain implacably opposed to the modernisation of the tube that will radically improve customer service and help us keep fares down.

” For example, at our busiest stations, there will be nearly a third more staff visible and available to provide, on a permanent basis, the face-to-face customer service we offered during the London 2012 Games.

” Fairness to our staff is also guaranteed. There will be no compulsory redundancies, there is a job for all staff wanting to remain with us and no one will lose pay as a result of change.”

The London Underground has said to run 40 – 50 % of their services with extra bus and river services, but customers are advised to check and plan their journey before travelling.

Transport correspondent from BBC London Tom Edwards said: “ Weary resignation or outright anger is probably what most commuters feel. The concern is there doesn’t seem to be room for a compromise from either side.

“ There could also be room for movement on the creation of visitor centres as an alternative to ticket offices. There will probably be more talks on Friday but to avoid more strikes one of the sides will have to back down.

” Many commuters now seem just as angry at both sides in this acrimonious dispute that could drag on and on.”

The strike will last for 48 hours and the union is set to strike for 72 hours from 21:00 on Monday 5 May, if the ticket office dispute is not resolved.

This is how services are running at the moment:

Bakerloo Line: Between Queen’s Park and Elephant and Castle

Central Line: Between Epping and Leytonstone. Between White City and Ealing Broadway and between North Acton and West Ruislip

District Line: Between Wimbledon and Upminster. Between Ealing Broadway and High Street Kensington

Hammersmith and City Line: Between Hammersmith and Moorgate

Jubilee Line: Between Wembley Park and Green Park and

Metropolitan Line: Between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Aldgate and Uxbridge and Harrow on-the-hill

Northern Line: The whole line is being served but a number of stations are closed

Piccadilly Line: Between Acton Town and Heathrow Terminals 1,2,3

Victoria Line: Between Seven Sisters and Brixton

No service on the Waterloo and City Line and no Circle Line service, although some stations will be served where other lines share the track.

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