THE TUBE STRIKE: T-F-HELL?

Kevin Craig

Today saw millions of London commuters facing travel chaos as a 48-hour strike over Tube ticket office closures hit transport services. But how did we fare at PLMR’s HQ in Westminster?

The team adopted a number of different modes of transport to make it into work today.  While some ran, others cycled, boarded trains or took the bus.  A few were forced to take cabs but some still opted to take the tube, despite warnings of a limited service.

Some found the effects of the strike only mildly inconvenient, with just a few minor delays.  Yet although it was business as usual for us today, with everyone making it in eventually, some at PLMR towers didn’t have quite such an easy ride.

One described their overall journey as “a nightmare”, and one of our team was forced to walk for 1 hour and 10 minutes to reach the office this morning.  Another observed that a fellow passenger was so overcome by it all that they fainted!  From our personal experiences, it does seem that London’s transport networks were indeed thrown into disarray this morning, with ‘horribly aggressive’ roads and buses breaking down, not to mention crowded platforms.

All in all though, we fared ok, and if some of the pictures online are anything to go by we had it fairly easy compared to other commuters.  With 950 predicted job losses following the closure of Underground ticket offices, one can understand the desire of RMT and TSSA union members to strike.  David Cameron might have branded the walkout ‘shameful’, but it’s Bob Crow’s role to protect the jobs and rights of his members.  However, it’s also Mayor Boris Johnson’s responsibility to modernise the Underground and provide an efficient and reasonably-priced transport system.

Economically, the London Chamber of Commerce has predicted that the strike – scheduled to be repeated next week for another two days – will cost the UK economy £200 million, and it remains to be seen whether bringing temporary misery to millions of commuters will result in the outcome the unions want.

Unless RMT’s boss Bob Crow and Mayor Boris Johnson can reach an agreement, the pandemonium at tube and bus stations will continue to blight the journeys of commuters.  Let’s hope they can sort it out soon.  Meanwhile at PLMR, we’ll make sure we have our walking boots ready to go by the door.

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