London's long-suffering tube travellers were hit with a double whammy yesterday; a power cut on the Jubilee Line which led to a torchlit trudge through the tunnels for 2000 passengers and severe delays caused by an overtime ban for maintenance workers, the latter affecting the Central, Piccadilly, District, Northern and Metropolitan Lines.
As if this wasn't enough, mainline commuters on South Eastern and First Capital Connect also suffered delays due to signal failures and track problems. What a way to start a Monday morning. Having been one of the Central Line users who was faced with a matrix sign which merely said 'Special - 11 mins' this Londonista was at least lucky enough to get an albeit packed train a few minutes later though the driver wearily informed us that 'many many other lines were severely delayed and alternative transport is advised'.
Apparently not content with bringing London to a standstill via the medium of strike action, the RMT and TSSA unions have imposed the ban on overtime as part of the ongoing dispute over job cuts. With more talks scheduled this week to avert the next round of strikes, the ever-ubiquitous Bob Crow seized the opportunity to leap onto his hobby horse: 'The disruption is down to the impact of the overtime ban on scheduled weekend works, combined with creaking and failing infrastructure compounded by maintenance cuts.' Dire predictions about the potential consequences of the 'creaking and failing infrastructure' appear to have become Crow's stock-in-trade, presumably by way of reminding everyone about the unions' stranglehold on public transport and that only they can save us all from disaster. TfL, never ones to take Crow's grandstanding lying down, responded; 'The RMT leadership's overtime ban was only a factor in delays on the Metropolitan line, where the RMT leadership is trying to hamper routine maintenance. Despite their claims, staff on the Piccadilly and Northern lines are not involved in their pointless industrial action.'
We're keeping our fingers crossed that the start of next week is less tortuous - Monday morning is difficult enough as it is.