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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Commuters Share Woes of Transport Chaos in London

Channel 4 News posted video of a packed Stratford station on Feb. 5, the first day of the subway strike.

Commuters documented the chaos of getting to work on Wednesday, the first day of a strike on the London Underground that disrupted service for millions of people.

Jonny Hallam, a BBC news producer, posted images of the long lines of people waiting at one of the main subway, or Tube, stations in London, and taking alternative forms of transportation.

On Facebook and Instagram, commuters posted short videos of people struggling to get into packed trains near Haringey, a borough of London, and of crowds trying to get through the turnstiles at Waterloo station.

An editor based in the United Kingdom, Gemma Louise Lowe, showed what happened when a train finally did stop.

James Coatsworth, a media researcher, and others observed that the strike brought out more of the city’s iconic red buses as ground transportation was pressed into service.

As my colleague Stephen Castle reported, the 48-hour strike on the London Underground, 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 plan.

It shut down several parts of the subway system, which normally has some 3.5 million passenger trips each day. The lines that remained open were operating on a reduced schedule, forcing commuters to cram into overcrowded buses and trains or walk or cycle to work.

RMT, a transport union that includes underground workers, shared photographs that it described as showing “lethal” overcrowding at Waterloo station.

News organizations called out to commuters to share their experiences online via Twitter. The Times of London posted a gallery of images on its Facebook account.

On Twitter, commuters shared their long, circuitous journeys to work, or suggested alternate routes, many using the hashtag #tubestrike, such as Lucy Tobin, a writer at the Evening Standard.

Symeon Brown, a journalist in London, told fellow travelers where not to go, and was credited on the Channel 4 News web site for the video showing the call to evacuate Stratford station because of overcrowding.

Follow Christine Hauser on Twitter @christineNYT.