UK

Southern Rail Strike: How Commuters Are Coping With Rail Service Disruptions

'Business as usual then?'

06/12/2016 10:44 GMT | Updated 06/12/2016 10:47 GMT

Commuters faced some of the worst disruptions to rail services for years on Tuesday as a three-day Southern Rail strike began in a bitter dispute over staffing. 

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union have launched industrial action to protest against changes to the role of conductors.

Meanwhile, drivers’ union Aslef will start an overtime ban ahead of strikes later in the month and in the new year in a row over driver-only trains.

On Wednesday Southern is due to take legal action in the High Court in a bid to halt the strikes, but if the action goes ahead all services will be halted.

On RMT strike days, only around 50% of the full timetable will operate.

Southern has warned passengers to expect “severe and significant” disruption to Southern and Gatwick Express services every day from today.

Here are eight ways commuters are coping with the strike:

 
 

1. Using alternative modes of transport

2. Expressing shock that the strike has only just begun

3. Avoiding the mayhem

4. Managing soaring costs

5. Contemplating legal action

6. Relief 

7. Despair

8. Frustration

If the Aslef drivers strikes go ahead, no Southern services will operate, with only Thameslink services to Three Bridges and Brighton and a limited service on Gatwick Express. 

Southern’s West London Line services, London Bridge to Beckenham Junction services, and Brighton to Seaford services are all cancelled from Tuesday until further notice.

Buses will operate between Lewes and Seaford. Other metro services will also be reduced, the Press Association reports.

Southern director Alex Foulds said: “Regrettably, because of this wholly unnecessary and unjustified industrial action, there will be severe and significant disruption on our network from Tuesday and customers are advised that stations will be incredibly busy.

“If passengers can make alternative travel arrangements they should, and if they don’t have to travel they shouldn’t. If the drivers’ strikes go ahead, there will be no services on Southern and customers should not attempt to travel.

“We’re doing everything we can to stop the drivers’ strike and that’s why we are seeking an injunction in the High Court.

“This industrial action is a clearly co-ordinated and cynical manoeuvre by the unions to bring yet further travel misery to passengers, as well as having a detrimental impact on the regional economy when it least needs it.

“If the unions are listening to passengers then they will call off all industrial action now and give hardworking commuters and their families their lives back.”

Thameslink is not directly affected by the strike action, although its services are expected to be extremely busy.

Other operators’ services are not affected, but are likely to be busier.

TSSA staff working on the Tube will refuse to work overtime from Thursday in a separate dispute over jobs and ticket office closures.