We've barely shaken off the spring drizzle, but already, London's gearing up for a summer of transport drama. Rail strikes are planned across the network, as disputes continue over pay and working conditions. The freshly-unveiled Elizabeth line is the sparkling purple jewel in the crown of TfL's network, renowned for its fierce air conditioning and vertiginous escalators. But it's not safe from this latest round of disruption.
The Elizabeth line cost £20bn to build but it's already paying off. Ridership levels are higher than TfL's projections, with two million more riders than they predicted trying the service in its first 10 months, and nearly half of Londoners having taken a trip on its Quality Street-hued trains. This popularity has been a bonanza for its bosses, and it's on track to break even this year. Still, it's not all good news.
The TSSA union isn't happy with its workers' pay packages, which it says are often less than two thirds of the salaries paid to other TfL workers in similar roles. Now, it's planning industrial action that's calculated to embarrass transport bosses into action.
When is the Elizabeth line strike?
Strike action is scheduled for Wednesday May 24, which is exactly a year since the Elizabeth line opened to great fanfare. As well as tarnishing the line's big anniversary, this action will have big knock on effects. It's set to affect the most used section of the line, which falls between Paddington and Abbey Wood, and the disruption is likely to affect services the following day, too.
Are any other London rail or tube strikes happening?
The Underground and Overground will be running as usual, but there will be train strikes in London on Wednesday May 31 and Saturday June 3 as services across the UK are affected by industrial action. The operating companies that'll be hit by strikes include: c2c, Avanti West Coast; Chiltern Railways; CrossCountry; East Midlands Railway; Great Western Railway; Greater Anglia; GTR Great Northern Thameslink; London North Eastern Railway; Northern Trains; Southeastern; Southern/Gatwick Express; South Western Railway depot drivers; SWR Island Line; TransPennine Express; and West Midlands Trains.
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Here's everything you need to know about London's transport strikes.