COMMUTER chaos gripped Cork today as Bus Éireann drivers commenced an indefinite strike.
Thousands were left stranded throughout the city and county as Irish Rail operators joined their fellow transport workers in the strike, refusing to pass the picket line and causing a number of commuter services in Cork to be cancelled.
Strike action was called late yesterday afternoon, leaving many with little time to find alternative arrangements to get to work, school or college today.
Among those hit were the hundreds set to travel to Dublin for tonight's crunch football World Cup qualifier between Ireland and Wales.
As well as the Bus Eireann strike, Irish Rail was forced to cancel all commuter trains to Cobh, Midleton, Little Island and Mallow. A number of Cork- Dublin trains were also axed.
Bus Éireann drivers say they have been left with no alternative after management implemented wide-sweeping cuts and cost-saving measures without union agreement this week.
John Moloney, Cork bus driver and president of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU), said:
"From day one, we were given no alternative. We tried to work with management to find a solution but we weren't given the chance to do that.
"The reductions and the changes to driver terms and conditions are unsustainable.
"We are in this for the long haul. We will strike for as long as it takes."