As millions of commuters in London faced long delays and disruption on underground services today, there were concerns that the services continuing in spite of a 48-hour Tube strike are putting passenger safety at risk.
Last night members of the Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) and the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) walked out in protest against the closure of all underground ticket offices and the loss of 950 jobs.
Today, with rush-hour commuters squeezing onto the remaining train services across eight of the Tube's 11 lines, pictures showed platforms and trains experiencing far greater than usual crowding.
The TSSA said London Underground (LU) had promised an "army" of volunteers to help control crowds, but that these so-called "ambassadors" failed to materialise.
And RMT released an image showing what it described as “lethal overcrowding” at the bottom of a set of escalators at Waterloo station.
"As LU rip up the safety rule book, this union launches immediate call for a full safety inquiry into deadly conditions," RMT said. "Managers [are] ignoring every regulation in the book and exposing passengers to serious crushing and trampling risk."
In pictures: Tube strike in London (February 2014)
In pictures: Tube strike in London (February 2014)
1/19 London Bridge station
Mayor of London Boris Johnson leaves London Bridge station
2/19 London Bridge station
Mayor of London Boris Johnson shakes hands with a 'Tube Ambassador' at London Bridge station
3/19 Trafalgar Square
A congested Trafalgar Square during rush hour
4/19 Victoria station
Passengers wait on the east bound platform of the District Line at Victoria station
5/19 Farringdon station
Commuters boarding a train at Farringdon Underground station
6/19 King's Cross station
Commuters waiting at a bus stop at King's Cross station during the London Underground workers strike
7/19 Tube strike
A out of service tube train at an underground station in London
8/19 Tube Strike
A tube strike notice as commuters face a 48 hour tube strike
9/19 Euston station
Commuters attempt to board the overcrowded train
10/19 Liverpool Street station
Crowds gather at the platform
11/19 Victoria station
Victoria line runs only between Seven Sisters and Victoria station
12/19 Victoria station
Commuters board a tube train
13/19 Victoria station
Commuters wait for a tube train
14/19 Waterloo station
Passengers were hit by delays and disruption as they tried to get to work or travel in London after a strike went ahead over Tube ticket office closures
15/19 Waterloo station
Commuters queue at the entrance to the London Underground
16/19 Seven Sisters station
Gates still closed at Seven Sisters at 7.20am despite service due to start at 7am (tube was open and running by 7.30am)
17/19 Earls Court station
Overcrowded platform on the District line
18/19 Stratford station
Extreme chaos as crowds try to board the train on the Jubilee line
19/19 Tooting Broadway
A queue to the station on the Northern line
The TSSA boss Manuel Cortes said London Mayor Boris Johnson “ should be charged with wasting police time” after it said 26 police officers were on duty outside Brixton station, and more than a dozen at Stratford, controlling crowds and re-directing commuters.
"Last week, he claimed he had a 1,000-strong army of volunteers who would keep the capital moving," Mr Cortes said.
"Well, they proved to be a phantom army. Just like his pledge to keep all Tube ticket offices open, this turns out to be another inoperative statement."
Nigel Holness, LU's operations director, disputed union claims about ambassadors and said staff were "working hard to keep customers safe".
He said: "As Londoners will have seen for themselves, we've had hundreds of volunteers out today to help customers get around. We'll have hundreds out during the evening peak as well.
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"Some stations, particularly the main rail termini, will clearly be very busy because of this pointless strike by the RMT and TSSA, but our staff are working hard to keep customers safe, and keep London moving and open for business today. We're running over a third of normal services, serving around 70 per cent of stations on eight out of 11 lines."
RMT leader Bob Crow told BBC London 94.9: "As we expected the action is rock solid this morning and has reduced the network to a skeleton service with only a few ghost trains running through closed stations.
"That is simply a reflection of the staff anger at attempts to bulldoze through cuts to jobs, services and safety which would reduce the Tube to a dangerous, hollowed-out shell."
Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, David Cameron said he "unreservedly condemned" today's Tube strike and said there was no reason for workers to participate.
He said: "We need a modernised Tube line working for the millions of Londoners who use it every day.
"The fact is only 3 per cent of transactions now involve ticket offices to it makes sense to have fewer people in those offices but more people on the platforms and the stations."
The strike means there will be a limited service across the London Underground until Friday morning.
Boris Johnson said today: "We are doing all we can to try and get people to work. I recognise in some cases it is difficult, and I feel enormous sympathy for Londoners this morning, but the blame for this strike lies squarely with union leaders who have resorted to myths and stunts in a pathetic attempt to justify a strike that is utterly pointless.
"It's appalling that a tiny minority of union members have sought to disrupt the working lives of millions of Londoners today. It's clear that at a minimum we need a 50 per cent strike threshold for a key public service like the mass transit system of our capital city.
"Tube modernisation is essential, and will actually mean there will be more, not less, members of staff on concourses and platforms to help passengers and keep commuters safe.
"These changes don't involve compulsory redundancies, will save millions that will be reinvested in the system, and are backed by over 80 per cent of Londoners, and yet the unions have refused to properly engage with TfLs consultation, and walked away from Acas this week."Reuse content