‘The Golden Age of travel is over’

Just imagine a world in which, almost overnight, the transport system breaks down. Flights across the world are cancelled, leaving thousands of travellers stranded far from home.

Airports are crowded with mobs of angry, frightened people. Even greater throngs descend on the railway stations, desperate to squeeze on to the horribly overcrowded trains.

Meanwhile, the roads fall eerily silent, as rocketing petrol prices make it prohibitively expensive for all but the richest to drive long distances.

For businesses across the Western world — hotels and restaurants, cafes and newsagents, garages and tour operators — this would be nothing short of a disaster.

It would leave us poorer, more isolated, more introverted and more ignorant: prisoners not just on our own island, but in our own towns and our own homes.

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It sounds like the stuff of some dystopian fantasy. In reality, it’s the story of what’s been happening over the past few weeks.

This morning, thanks to the biggest nationwide strike for 30 years, railway stations across Britain have fallen silent. More than a million commuters have been forced to work from home or take to the roads, with enormous queues expected to block motorways and major arteries.

In London, Tube workers are striking all day, shutting down much of the capital’s Underground network. The authorities have begged people to stay at home, but any remaining services are expected to be packed to capacity.

And there’s worse to come. More strikes are scheduled for Thursday and Saturday, as part of the RMT’s campaign for higher pay and an end to redundancies.



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