Tube strike begins... again

 
Steve Dinneen
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A fourth “pointless” underground strike began last night, leaving millions struggling to get to work this morning.

The strike, which began at 7pm yesterday, will continue until 7pm tonight, with many services not fully resuming until tomorrow morning.

London Underground (LU) officials had hoped to strike an eleventh hour deal with its workers but talks between the two collapsed on Friday.

Mike Brown, managing director of LU, branded the strike “pointless and unnecessary,” adding it will “achieve nothing whatsoever”.

An LU spokesman said: “We will run as many tube services as we can but some lines may have a restricted service and some stations will be closed. It is not possible to say exactly what services we will be able to run and the situation may change throughout the day.”

Unions claim job cuts at underground stations could have a knock-on effect on safety on the tube network. RMT boss Bob Crow said: “It is incredible that LU management would not agree to a 12-week suspension of the cuts to allow a thorough safety evaluation on the impact on each station of their cuts plans.”

Icy conditions on roads leading into London are expected to heap further pressure on the already strained transport network.

Today’s strike is the fourth this year over job losses at ticket booths. Officials argue fewer staff are needed due to the prevalence of self-service Oyster cards.

Last strike London Underground said it kept around 40 per cent of its services running and carried 50 per cent of its usual passenger load. Overall it said 95 per cent of its usual Oyster journeys were carried out across the transport network, with extra busses and boats helping to ease pressure.

FAST FACTS | HOW TO BEAT THE TUBE STRIKE

● Walk or cycle
Underground bosses are urging people who live in central London to get on their bikes in a bid to ease pressure on the services they are able to maintain. Those living further afield should bear in mind the icy conditions and low temperatures expected throughout the day.

● Go by river
Extra boat services will be laid on to give commuters more options. Those coming to and from the City can get boat services from piers including Putney. With the extra traffic expected on the roads, boats will be among the quickest ways of traversing the city. Expect queues.

● Avoid the Circle Line
The entire Circle Line is expected to be closed all day, with bosses saying most stops are already covered by other lines.
● Take the Northern or District Lines
All Northern Line branches are expected to remain open. District line trains will run between Ealing Broadway and Barking, and between Wimbledon and Barking. There will also be some services to Upminster.

● Be wary of the Central Line
Central line LU intends to initially operate a service on the outer sections between Ealing Broadway/West Ruislip and White City and between Epping/Hainault and Liverpool Street.

● Check airport transport
The Piccadilly line will not serve the central area but London Underground plans to run a service to Heathrow terminals 1, 2 and 3 from Acton Town.

● Avoid driving where possible
Extra traffic will cause jams all day.