Strike on London Underground Disrupts Commute


LONDON — A strike on the London Underground crippled much of the transport network on Wednesday, disrupting the plans of millions of travelers and forcing commuters to cram into overcrowded buses and trains or walk or cycle to work.

The 48-hour strike, which began Tuesday evening, was called by two unions to protest plans to cut about 950 jobs and close all ticket offices as part of a restructuring that the London transportation authority says could save around 50 million pounds, or about $81 million, a year.

The strike shut down several parts of the subway system, which normally has three and a half million passenger trips each day. The lines that remained open were operating on a reduced schedule.

Despite promises of extra bus service, long, snaking lines built up on Wednesday at bus stops. Many people faced long walks to work unless they could pounce on one of the city’s shared bicycles.

There was frustration, too, for drivers. “Traffic congestion was far more intense and went on much longer than normal,” said Chris Lambert, a traffic analyst at Inrix, a company that monitors traffic flows. An 11-mile traffic jam on one of the main arteries into the west of the city did not clear until around noon, Mr. Lambert said.

At the Old Bailey, London’s criminal court, a judge commended jurors who appeared despite the disruption, thanking them for showing the “Dunkirk spirit,” a reference to the evacuation of British forces from France in 1940 during World War II….

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