Transport chaos in
Cup city

The Brazilian city due to host the World Cup opener in a week is in transit chaos after subway and overland train operators went on strike.

The stoppage for better wages in Sao Paulo, where England will take on Uruguay, was called early yesterday and unions say there is no set date for ending it.

Nearly 3.5 million commuters rely on the subway and overland trains each day.

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On the streets, people were spilling out of crowded buses which were operating normally.

Amid angry scenes, commuters kicked in a large door at the train station closest to Itaquerao stadium, which will host the tournament opener between Brazil and Croatia on June 12.

The strike puts at risk the only means that most football fans will have to reach the stadium.

Angry passengers jumped onto the tracks to protest at some stations, although they dispersed when police arrived. Others rushed to bus stops to squeeze into the packed vehicles and make their way to work.

The strike follows others by bus, subway and overland train operators that have frustrated passengers.

“The strikes... are getting on my nerves,” said Silvia Rodrigues da Silva, who manages a small coffee shop in central Sao Paulo. “The subway station nearest my house was closed, so I had wait for more than an hour to get into an overcrowded bus to come to work.”

On Wednesday night a judge ordered the train operators to work at full capacity during rush hours, and at 70 per cent capacity in off hours. Union members voted to go ahead with the strike 
anyway, despite the judge ordering that the union be fined for each day it ignores the ruling.