Transport for London is advising passengers to avoid the Undergound today, because industrial action by the RMT is causing ‘severe disruption’. The walkout by station staff in a dispute over job losses, pensions and working conditions will mean that many Underground stations will not be open today, with those in central and south London expected to be the worst affected. The situation could also change during the day. If they must travel, passengers are being advised to only try to use the network between 08.00 and 18.00. All other TfL services are expected to be running as usual, including the Elizabeth Line, although its trains may not be able to call stations operated by the Underground. TfL said it has proposed leaving 500 to 600 posts unfilled as they become vacant, in a bid towards balancing its books, but it has pledged that all stations will remain staffed throughout traffic hours. Chief operating officer Andy Lord said: ‘I’d like to apologise to London for the impact this strike will have on journeys. We know it’s going to be damaging to London and the economy, at a time when public transport is playing a crucial role in the capital’s recovery. We expect the severe disruption to continue into the morning of Tuesday 7 June.’
Merseyrail services disrupted by bearings fault
Merseyrail trains on the Kirkby and New Brighton lines are being replaced by ‘limited’ bus services from today, as trains have been withdrawn because of wheel bearing faults. Some services will also be cancelled on the West Kirby line. However trains will be running on the Kirkby line from 19.35 this evening. Merseyrail apologised for the disruption, and said passengers should allow longer than usual for their journeys. It explained: ‘During the last two weeks, we have seen an unexpected and significant increase in wheel bearing faults which has affected the number of trains we have available. Whilst the wheel bearings on affected units are replaced, emergency changes are being made to our timetables to prevent unplanned disruption and to maintain a reliable service.’
FirstGroup urged not to accept £1.2bn takeover bid
More boardroom clashes may be looming at FirstGroup, because its largest shareholder wants it to reject a £1.2 billion takeover approach from US private equity firm I Squared. Schroders has almost 18 per cent of the shares in First, and Schroders’ UK equity fund manager Andy Simpson said: ‘We consider the level and structure of the bid approach unattractive. The proposal is highly conditional and leaves shareholders exposed to downside risks at a time when we believe the stand-alone company has attractive growth prospects, a strong balance sheet and a depressed valuation.’ First’s financial results are due to be published on 14 June.