Londoners should expect further travel chaos as a Tube strike enters its second day today.
It comes after TfL announced that London’s Night Tube service was set to resume from November 27 on the Victoria and Central lines.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union says the rota changes have resulted in “unacceptable and intolerable demands” on its members and their work-life balance.
TfL have said the Night Tube is still expected to reopen on Saturday night. However, they recommend that passengers check before travelling as “there may be a reduced level of service”.
The RMT walk-out on Friday led to the closure of the Piccadilly – including no Tube services to and from Heathrow – and the central section of the Central line that serves Oxford Street and Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.
A limited service continued on the Northern, Jubilee and Victoria lines.
Transport for London said that by 9am it was running 58 per cent of normal services on the Tube.
Passenger numbers were down by about 30 per cent on last Friday but bus journeys were up four per cent.
Andy Lord, London Underground’s Managing Director, said: “I am very sorry for the inconvenience that this strike action is causing. We understand that our customers will be frustrated by the RMT’s strike action, which is timed to cause maximum disruption to London. This action is the last thing London needs as it recovers from the pandemic, which is why we have done everything we can to get this action called off.
“We are expecting to operate a reduced service overnight tonight on the Central and Victoria lines and on 3-5 December, 10-12 December and 17-18 December. Customers are advised to check before they travel and use buses to complete their journeys where required.”
RMT said on Friday morning the strike was “rock solid with pickets out in force on all lines involved”.
Passengers took to social media to vent their frustrations. One wrote: “Rush hour on tube strike day in a jam packed carriage where most people aren’t wearing masks”.
Another said: “Well the tube strike is absolutely compacting people in on the jubilee line and mask wearing seems to have been abandoned. Just as a new variant lands, big to everyone involved…”
Cafe worker Carlotta Pironti, 22, said: “I had to come in early for a shift and had to get on a bus where there were a lot of people with no masks. It’s just not responsible.
“I thought it was required to travel. It’s going to cause another wave of Covid.”
Connor Paterson, 45, a builder said: “I managed to get a tube early this morning and it was awful. Too many people and too many not wearing masks. We are asking for trouble.”
TfL has called the strikes “unnecessary”, adding that drivers will only have to work about four Night Tube shifts a year.
Nick Dent, director of London Underground customer operations, said: “At such a pivotal time for the capital’s recovery, we are hugely disappointed that the RMT is threatening London with this unnecessary action.
“The return of Night Tube is a hugely significant moment for the night-time economy and for Londoners travelling late at night who will have improved journey times and an additional safe travel option. We have been meeting with the RMT for a number of months through ACAS to try and resolve their issues and we remain open to talking further.”