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Friday, 19 July, 2002, 11:24 GMT 12:24 UK
Tube commuters told 'stagger journey'
Commuters in London are being advised to stagger their journeys home on Thursday night.
A strike by London Underground staff has closed down nearly 90% of the Tube network.
A limited service is running on a number of underground lines but many stations remain closed.
Services are not expected to return to normal until Friday morning.
The strike has been called by the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, which is opposing government plans to bring in private engineering companies to modernise the Tube.
Many of the three million people affected opted to catch the bus, take to their cars or walk to work on Thursday morning.
Workers who tried to beat the strike by taking overland trains into Liverpool Street station were also affected by delays after overhead power lines failed.
The mayor's transport authority is running free river services between Tower Pier and Westminster Pier during peak hours.
Accountancy firms believe the strike will cost the economy between £60m and £100m, as scores of workers opt to take the day off.
Have your say
The RMT union said the proposals to use private companies for maintenance work are not safe and that its officials have not been given time to examine the proposals, or raise objections.
Warning of the possibility of further strikes he said: "If London Underground don't take notice I think that we will be laying down further dates for action."
Talks between the union and London Underground broke down on Tuesday after just two hours and no further meetings are planned.
The union said proposals made by LU to avert the industrial action were "completely inadequate".
You sent us your comments on how the tube strike affected you.
I was going to take the bus from Highgate but it seems that management cannot even seem to get that right. Several buses were full and some went past empty with the sign 'Not in Service'. However I was just about to give up and walk when I was told there was now a limited service on the Northern Line. No crowds, no pushing and shoving... I got a seat on an empty carriage and with a number of stations closed managed to get into the city within 20 mins. As far as I am concerned the RMT can strike everyday... it seems to improve the service when they do!
Here in Sydney if the operators of the Ferries or trains have a dispute they just open all the gates for their services for free. The Government loses revenue and they get the public on their side instead of causing widespread disruption and anger.
F Wilson, London
I can't believe the government and our 'wonderful' London Mayor allow the now annual strike to happen. The government might as well make it a public holiday as it happens every year. All the RMT achieves is resentment and opposition to their cause, a union with nothing better to do than cause inconvenience and hardship for long suffering London travellers.
I feel that every effort should be made in the future to stop tube strikes. As a visually impaired person I depend on the tube to get around London and I know a great many of my colleagues who find it difficult to get around without the tube also suffer on strike days. With all the talk of congestion charging it does not seem feasible to do this until we have a proper public transport system in place where strikes can be a thing of the past.
The tube staff are currently far from enjoying public sympathy for their cause, whatever that might be. Forcing the people to sweat in packed buses, wait hopelessly at bus stops and delaying them from getting to work and back home has definitely earned the tube staff some rude and bitter comments about themselves and their ancestors today
I walked from Muswell Hill to Chancery Lane this morning, and it was one of the most pleasant journeys to work in a long time. It was nice to be able to look around and see London rather than squeezing on to a packed tube. I felt a real sense of camaraderie with those also walking to work, and laughed at those who were too busy complaining about the strike to realise that it was far quicker to walk than wait for an already packed bus. I feel fit and healthy and am even looking forward to the walk home. If the weather could be guaranteed to stay nice I might consider walking even on non-tube strike days.
The people of London have been getting a rough deal for decades and a strike is going to do nothing but destroy what support the RMT had. Something drastic has to be done to modernise the ailing tube. London is a rich national and economic capital but it's transport system remains dated and 'third world'. Take a look at New York or even Moscow! We've many lessons to learn and the strikes will only lead to further friction between public, workers and government which doesn't help anybody.
I normally take a tube from Swiss Cottage to Bond St & walk to Soho, it takes me 40 minutes. Today I walked through Regents park and it took me 35minutes, it was pleasant and lovely to see so many people walking. I know how I'll be getting to work from now on.
I was forced to walk from Parsons Green to Marylebone Road this morning thanks to the lack of tube services and also the poor bus service in operation. In my view, those Tube workers striking should be told what the New York Metro workers were told 15 years ago: 'strike and you lose your jobs'. New York has not suffered from a Metro strike since. Those working on the Tube earn more than junior doctors, and yet whinge at every opportunity that they are not given a good deal by their employers. I beg to differ, and resent the city being held to ransom in this manner.
Mark H, London
This is a politically motivated strike. What a shame to see that almost all the official pickets outside Edgware Rd station has hands full of the "Socialist Worker". Its nothing to do with safety - just the good old British disease of dogmatic unionism.
Not only a shame for Londoners but also for the thousands of visitors who have invested time and money to come and spend time in London.
I walked from Charing Cross instead of catching the tube to Warren Street.
It took about 10 minutes longer but was 10 times as pleasant. When I renew my season ticket next month I won't bother with the Tube element
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