It’s Black Friday, the weather is miserable, so of course it’s also today where we’re hit by a tube strike.
And Uber is reaping the benefits of raising its prices by up to 150 percent.
This is the tube’s first multi-line strike since 2018, with The Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines were severely disrupted for 24 hours. Londoners have been given no choice but to travel to work on crowded buses in regular traffic, walk or take taxis. The pipelines that remain open are expected to be terribly busy.
As sunset now takes place at. 16.00, Londoners are encouraged to try to make plans to travel home early or find alternative routes that do not go through central London. The city is likely to be even busier than usual with shoppers flocking to the capital to take advantage of this week’s continued Black Friday sale.
The tube strikes are being held in response to the reintroduction of the Night Tube on the Central and Victoria lines on Friday and Saturday nights. RMT staff say Night Tube will ‘destroy the work-life balance by bulldozing through extra night and weekend work ‘.
But for women’s security advocates, the reopening of the Night Tube comes as a huge relief. Nearly 160,000 people have signed a petition, launched in October to reinstate Night Tube, after t.the murders of Londoners Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa this year provoked a national outcry over the very real dangers that women face when they go home at night.
With CCTV, well-lit platforms and staff at hand, the tube is one of the safest and affordable ways for Londoners to travel home. The service that began in August 2016 was closed during the pandemic last year.
But today, Londoners are facing a long journey home with their usual underground routes stopped and Ubers too expensive to be a viable travel option for most people.
Uber is no stranger to controversy. In 2019, the taxi service lost its London license after allegations of cheating with driver identity. In February this year, the company tried unsuccessfully to appeal a landmark decision that drivers should be classified as workers, meaning they were entitled to both the minimum wage and paid leave.
And as recently as October, Uber’s face recognition algorithm has been accused of racist bias by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) and some Uber drivers.
We need to change the way we talk about women’s safety in London.
Everything you need to know about today’s tube strike.