"It’s just chaos" - Irish man caught up in London Underground strike

Station staff are staging a 24-hour strike

"It’s just chaos" - Irish man caught up in London Underground strike

A sign warns travellers of industrial action at London's Paddington Underground Station | Image: Peter Clifton PA Wire/PA Images

Millions of commuters in London are facing travel chaos as London Underground services are crippled by a 24-hour strike by station staff.

Earlier, Clapham Junction - which claims to be the UK's busiest station - had to be evacuated just before 9.00am due to overcrowding. It remained closed for almost an hour before it was re-opened.

Pictures shared on social media showed large crowds inside and outside key stations with people queuing for trains, buses and taxis.

One commuter tweeted: "London during the tube strike, the buses are now mad Max style death trucks. People try to ride pigeons to work. No gaps are minded. Chaos."

Another wrote: "It feels like #London is an isolated apocalypse of Uber's, buses and bikes."

Uber customers claimed they were being stung by price hikes by drivers during rush hour.

One woman claimed she had been quoted stg£28-£32 (€32-€36) for a journey which she said would normally cost stg£6-£8 (€6.90-€9.20).

Uber denied drivers were taking advantage of the strike action, asserting "the fare increases automatically, and only in response to real-time demand when there are not enough available cars".

Some commuters were sympathetic to striking staff and grateful for the exercise it had forced on them by having to commute on foot or by bike, others were less so and vented their frustration on social media.

It took some people up to four hours to get to work, others gave up on their journeys and returned home, while some tweeted of missing exams and university classes being live streamed.

“People were screaming"

The industrial action by members of the RMT and TSSA unions, which is due to end at 6.00pm, is part of a long-running dispute over ticket office closures.

According to the unions, more than 800 jobs have been lost, while staff are allegedly being abused by passengers queuing at ticket machines.

Irish journalist based in London, Padraig Prendergast, was caught up in the chaos.

“A journey home yesterday evening started at 6pm – it should only take me 25 minutes – ended up taking me an hour and a half.

“And my journey this morning, which should only be again 25 minutes into work, took me three hours and 10 minutes.

“There was overcrowding, there was people pushing - I saw one altercation where there was two men fighting over the last space to get on a bus.

“It’s just chaos – I’ve never seen scenes like it”.

He described the scene as Clapham Junction station was evacuated.

“We were all pushed outside into car parks...we were just told to wait and wait and wait.

“When eventuallty they started opening gate by gate, people were getting frustrated – I was at the top of the queue at one of the gates, and there was other people (who got) precendent...over us.

“People were screaming, the station manager didn’t know what to do, there was so many police involved.

“It’s going to be just as bad on the way home.”