São Paulo Bus Strike Further Frays Brazil's World Cup Nerves

Image: São Paulo Bus Strike Further Frays Brazil's World Cup Nerves Drivers and ticket collectors demanding a pay rise at Santa Brigida garage, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Thursday, 22 May 2014 11:15 AM

By Morgan Chilson

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A three-day bus strike in Sao Paulo, Brazil, has left hundreds of thousands of commuters stranded and raised concerns the country won’t be able to handle the World Cup soccer matches next month.

The bus strike, along with civil and federal police strikes taking place throughout the country, escalated fears the world’s largest sporting event won’t go smoothly, according to Reuters. Sao Paulo will host the opening soccer match June 12, with other matches scheduled in 11 additional cities.

A small faction of the Sao Paulo’s bus driver’s union walked off the job Tuesday, demanding a 19 percent raise instead of the 10 percent agreed to by the city on Monday.

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On Wednesday, civil police in numerous cities, including six that will host World Cup matches, walked off the job for a 24-hour strike to demand higher pay, reported Channel NewsAsia.

The Associated Press said the bus strike appeared to be losing momentum Wednesday, and reported that 60 percent of the city’s buses were in operation. On the first day, most buses couldn’t operate at all as strikers blocked streets.

The strike overloaded the city’s subway and commuter train systems, AP said, and crowds trampled some people, although no serious injuries were reported.

Sao Paulo’s newspaper, the Folha de S. Paulo, initially reported that striking drivers and fare collectors had agreed to return to work Thursday. But that didn’t occur, pushing the disruption of the city’s public transportation system into a third day.

As police and bus strikes escalated, some travelers have become concerned about attending the World Cup.

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