TfL said it expected 600,000 fewer tube trips on Friday
Neon heads were hit on Friday after Tube strikes prevented thousands of commuters from going to work and dealt a huge blow to London’s economy on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
The RMT walk-out closed the Piccadilly Line – which includes no tube services to and from Heathrow – and the central section of the Central Line serving Oxford Street and Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.
Businesses said the strike was “disgraceful”, while Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “It is the last thing Londoners need.”
Services ran on the Victoria, Jubilee and Northern lines, which were also targeted by the RMT, although not as often.
There was a general service on sub-surface lines such as the district and circle, which were not subject to union action.
Transport for London said as of 9 a.m. it was running 58 percent of normal services on the Tube. Last Friday, the number of passengers had decreased by about 30 per cent, but there was an increase of four per cent in bus travel.
This means there are likely to be around 600,000 fewer tube trips throughout Friday, a total of 2m compared to last Friday’s approximately 2.6m.
There were pickets outside some tube stations and the RMT declared the walk-out as “rock solid” – over the roster of drivers for the Night Tube. But the TfL owners said that the RMT was not as successful as expected and they believe some members came for the job.
London Underground’s managing director Andy Lord told The Standard: “I’m disappointed we got the action in the first place but quite happy with the service we’ve provided. Clearly it’s disruptive and we’ll do it if we can. want to avoid it.
“The Piccadilly Line and Central Line are the most affected. We have full end-to-end service on other lines, but with lower frequencies.
“I am deeply sorry for our customers and businesses in London, who are affected and inconvenienced by the strike. I am truly sorry that anyone has been affected by this completely unnecessary industrial action.
“Not a single driver has lost his job and not a single driver has been forced on the new roster.”
The strike will continue till 4.30 am on Saturday.
A small number of trains ran between Arnos Grove and Cockfosters at the northern end of the Piccadilly Line on Friday morning.
But Mr Lord said it was “unlikely” sections beyond the Piccadilly line to reopen. Nor did he foresee the resumption of Central Line services between White City and Liverpool Street.
RMT’s next strike to restart Night Tube will begin on Saturday on the Victoria and Central Line.
A dress rehearsal on Friday night will indicate how many drivers will be expected to come to work on Saturday night. TfL expects to run less Night Tube service on the Victoria Line but is unsure about the Central Line, which has more RMT members.
Strike ‘loss’ London
Travellers, business leaders and politicians flocked to the RMT, saying they were harming London.
Simon French, chief economist at City Brokers Panamure Gordon, said the strike could cost central London about £10 million in sales losses.
Mr Shapps told the LBC: “I solemnly appeal to the union not to disrupt everyone’s lives. We have caused substantial disruption through the coronavirus.”
Nikki Aiken, Conservative MP for the cities of London and Westminster, said: “It means visitors can’t come in and workers can’t come in and those are the two people who keep London running.”
New West End Company chief executive Jess Tyrell said: “The Tube strike is a devastating blow to London’s West End as businesses are looking to take advantage of what should have been an unprecedented Friday for Christmas.”
London First chief executive John Dickey said it was “disgraceful” for RMT to strike when TfL was desperate for cash. “For Christmas, as London businesses and Londoners try to recover from the pandemic, it is also self-indulgent,” he said.
Passenger Costas Rico, 25, who was on his way to work at Heathrow but was forced to make other plans when he learned that Northfields station was closed, said: “It’s ridiculous. We are trying to recover financially from a pandemic and now this. this is not right.”
22-year-old Miles Chapman, who works as a publishing house in central London, met through a closed gate in Bounds Green.
He said: “I’m enjoying going back to the office after the pandemic and this strike stopping people from going inside is very disappointing.”
Leanne Smallman, 30, a retail worker, said: “I’m really crossed. Now I have to take the bus and be half an hour late. I think it’s terrible that Tube workers go public about their business over petty complaints.” stopping it.”
Simon Thomas, chief executive of Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square, said: “Hark the Herald’s Angels sing, Strike on the Tube, is normal.
“Given what the West End has been doing over the past 18 months, this is a cynical gesture for Londoners and the business community to undermine the joy of Christmas.”
Des Guneverdena, chief executive of restaurant group D&D London, said many diners were canceling reservations.
He added: “It is highly insensitive to both unions and TfL to subject the public to this strike … especially on what will happen on a very busy Friday in the West End.”
RMT Secretary General Mick Lynch said: “Our members have spoken this morning and it is time to start listening to the London Underground.
“This is only the beginning of a program of action and the mayor and his officers need to recognize our determination to protect progressive and family-friendly working practices. We are available to negotiate.”