Britain is braced for a week of chaos as the biggest rail strike in a generation looks likely to paralyse the national network.
With services slashed to 20 per cent of their normal frequency, some places cut off entirely and passengers warned not to travel unless their journeys are absolutely necessary, here is how the walkouts are set to cripple different sectors:
Thousands of appointments and operations are likely to be missed because patients will be unable to get to hospitals and surgeries.
Professor Sir Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, said it was ‘vital’ that people sought appointments and treatment despite the disruption.
‘I am urging those who have appointments booked in to plan ahead and look at alternative options for getting to their GP practice or hospital if needed,’ he said.
Thousands of appointments and operations are likely to be missed because of next week’s rail strikes
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said the walkouts will ‘put patients at risk’ as doctors, nurses and other frontline staff struggle to get to work.
One senior NHS leader warned the strikes ‘will probably end up killing people because they’ll prevent ambulance trust staff getting to work’.
The strikes are expected to hit London hospitals especially hard, as many have limited parking capacity for patients who decide to drive to appointments.
Both London Ambulance Service Trust and South Central Ambulance Service Foundation Trust have moved to the highest level of alert, which shows they are under extreme pressure.
Families of pupils sitting GCSEs and A-levels who usually rely on trains to get them to school have been urged to find travel arrangements for this week.
Tomorrow, those teenagers who are sitting GCSE history or dance, or A-level German, religious studies or maths could be hit.
On Thursday, those who will be taking A-level chemistry or GCSE physics papers may be affected.
Students sitting GCSE history or dance, or A-level German, religious studies or maths could be affected by the strike action
A total of 17 GCSE and 22 A-level papers could be disrupted by the strikes.
Schools will be allowed to begin exams up to 30 minutes late or relocate them to mitigate against disruption, according to guidance from the Joint Council for Qualifications, which represents the UK’s biggest exam boards.
Julie McCulloch, of the Association of School and College Leaders, said while most pupils lived near schools and typically travelled by bus, it was important that families made ‘alternative arrangements’ for those reliant on trains.
She urged pupils worried about how they would attend exams to talk to their school to discuss their options.
The rail and Tube strikes are likely to cost the economy at least £91million in staff absences alone, according to analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
The CEBR calculated that 0.8 per cent of staff – more than 250,000 people – will not be able to get to work.
It estimates that almost half the £91million – £45.1million – will be incurred tomorrow, given the greater number of commuters then and the separate London Underground strikes.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps pictured during a press conference in Downing Street last month
On Thursday, output losses are estimated at £26.3million, while on Saturday, they are expected to be £19.6million.
The capital is set to face the largest hit, with a loss to the economy of £52million, it found.
Other estimates suggest the cost to the UK economy overall could be as much as £450million.
The walkouts are expected to cause misery for music and sports fans.
Following a three-year hiatus Glastonbury Festival returns from Wednesday, with 200,000 revellers heading to Somerset.
Many festival-goers typically take the train to the nearest station at Castle Cary before catching a bus to the festival site.
While Great Western Railway said it planned to keep some trains running between the station and London Paddington during the festival, it has warned the times of some services might change.
Coach firm National Express said it had seen ‘a significant increase in both inquiries and bookings’ as people opt to travel with it, and warned of heavy traffic around the festival site.
Following a three-year hiatus Glastonbury Festival returns from Wednesday, but festival-goers who usually take the train to the event will be affected
Sports fans are also set to be hit for six when England plays its third Test match against New Zealand at Headingley in Leeds from June 23 to 27.
The UK Athletics Championships run from Friday to Sunday in Manchester.
By-elections in Wakefield and in Tiverton and Honiton take place on Thursday, while Elton John and the Rolling Stones are playing gigs in London’s Hyde Park on Friday and Saturday respectively.
Nationwide events to commemorate veterans could also be disrupted as UK Armed Forces Day takes place on Saturday.
Hospitality and holidays
UK Hospitality, which represents the tourism, leisure and theatre sectors, warned the strikes could cost businesses over a billion pounds.
Footfall looks set to drop by 9.3 per cent across all retail outlets this week, with high streets due to be visited by 10 per cent fewer customers, while the figure for shopping centres will be 13 per cent down, according to the retail consultancy Springboard.
Holidaymakers hoping to travel by train to London airports are being warned to expect severe disruption and reduced timetables.
There will be no Gatwick Express services on strike days, while the Stansted Express and Heathrow Express services will run just two trains an hour, with much later first and earlier last trains.
Eurostar is running a reduced timetable next week and has cancelled 41 trains between London and Paris and Brussels and Amsterdam.
Experts have warned of a surge in congestion as commuters who usually take the train may opt to drive instead
People who decide to drive or take the bus due to the strikes should brace themselves for a surge in congestion, experts have said.
Many of those without cars are turning to bus travel. Stagecoach, the country’s biggest bus and coach operator, said next week’s bookings for its Megabus service had increased by 85 per cent.
Main motorway arteries and roads in rural and suburban areas are likely to be the worst affected, the AA predicted, although it said it expected the impact to be ‘slightly cushioned by record fuel prices’ and some commuters working from home.
AA president Edmund King has called for all road charges to be waived on strike days to stop areas becoming ‘ghost towns’, while business minister Paul Scully urged London Mayor Sadiq Khan to suspend road charges and non-essential roadworks to help people get to work.
published 2022-06-17 17:47:55