Tube strikes: Central London businesses warn trade will grind to a halt as commuters stay away


mall businesses in central London have described how they will be “severely” impacted by rail and tube strikes set to take place on Wednesday and Friday.

RMT walkouts and thousands of train staff striking will leave most lines affected, according to Transport for London (TfL).

Retail analysts Springboard say data shows a drop in footfall on previous strike days of between 8 and 20 per cent.

Given the “widespread nature” of them this week, they predict that “the drop may well be in the upper range of this.”

Independent businesses operating in central London have said that on strike days, they experience a reduction in footfall anywhere from 30 to 70 per cent.

Previous experiences through strikes have meant that shops such as Cafe del Marsh near Waterloo have faced turnover losses of roughly 50 per cent.

Owner James Pears said: “Strike days affect the day before and the day after strikes too. People choose to work from home and choose to avoid (them) like the plague.”

Co-owner of an independent coffee shop ner Liverpool Street called Zamarut, Rommel Bayangar said: “Being a family-owned business, you’re going up against big sort of established, multi-billion-pound businesses, like Starbucks, and you can’t compete.

“We always pull through, but strikes won’t make things easier and will affect our staff’s ability to come to work … London Liverpool Street has a million people going through it in a week and the majority of our customers are office workers.”

Diane Wehrle, insights director at Springboard said: “The rail strikes and overtime ban together with the strike on the tube being held, will mean a significant loss of trade for businesses across London and beyond that rely on foot traffic. The loss of trade will spread across the entire week, even on non-strike days, due to delays caused by trains being in the wrong locations. Inevitably this will deter people from travelling, with the vast majority likely to opt to work from home where they can.

“The loss of customers will have a particularly huge impact on businesses that rely on footfall, such as retailers and hospitality operators, and independent businesses are likely to feel the impact more severely as the capability of many to withstand a loss of trade is lower than larger businesses.

“At the same time, the disruption caused to other business is likely to also be significant, with many having to change plans and make arrangements for remote working.”

Up to 10,000 RMT members are expected to walk out in protest at the axing of up to 600 Underground station staff posts. Tube strikes: Central London businesses warn trade will grind to a halt as commuters stay away

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