Yesterday, SNCF employee in Paris went on strike. SNCF has employees who checks and validates the ticket of the travelers. They get on the trains randomly with no predefined schedule; at least in the eyes of a casual traveler. One such employee was attacked by an agitated traveler. That was the reason for the strike.
Although it sounds like a valid reason, I am not sure how the authorities can be of any help here. Are they going to assign a security personnel to the employees while boarding the train for checking tickets? Are they going to teach self-defense tactics to their employees? Are they going to provide monetary benefits because of the health hazards?
While these questions remain unanswered in my mind, what struck me was the way in which the strike was conducted. I boarded a SNCF train to my workplace. The train stopped after 2 stations and we were informed about the halting the service. All of us got out and waited for the next train. The next train came in a few minutes. Strangely, this train also originated from the same station I boarded initially. This train took me forward by another two stations where it stopped and we were informed about end of service for this train.
I can understand a strike and complete or a partial disruption of service. But I can't understand why they have to take us progressively to 2 next stations and halt the service. I can understand if these train originate from different stations. But strange as it may sound, all these trains originated from the same station. So, the whole process of advancing by 2 station resembled a relay race. I still can't understand the purpose. Are they punishing all travelers for aggression show towards one of their brethren.
Anyways, I joined the long line of travelers hurrying out of the train station to find an alternate mode of travel. The line walking towards the nearest bus stop looked similar to the biblical exodus. The bus stop soon was crowded and I had to wait for two buses before I could board.