By Caroline Stauffer
SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Bus drivers in São Paulo went on strike for a second day on Wednesday, snarling transit & leaving hundreds of thousands stranded in South America's largest city less than a month before it hosts the opening World Cup soccer match.
Drivers & fare collectors following a dissident faction of the local union walked off the job on Tuesday, leaving vehicles parked on major roads & closing more than half the terminals in Brazil's business capital without giving warning of the imminent gridlock.
p> The strike in São Paulo, generally one of Brazil's most orderly cities, highlights growing uncertainty over the country's ability to pull off one of the world's largest sporting events in 12 cities. Many soccer fans are expected to rely on public transportation to obtain to stadiums on game days.
São Paulo has limited metro service & its train stations were dangerously overcrowded on Tuesday, with passengers nearly crushed on escalators during the evening rush hour. As commuters resorted to cars, local media reported 260 kilometers (162 miles) of gridlock throughout the city.
Last week a similar bus strike in Rio de Janeiro, which will host the 2016 Olympics as well as World Cup matches, left thousands stranded & some 300 vehicles vandalized.
A worker walks between buses parked in a bus garage during a bus strike in Sao Paulo May 21, 2014. R …
Civil & federal police were moreover on strike in other parts of the country on Wednesday. When military police walked off the job in recent weeks in Salvador & Recife on the northeastern coast, moreover World Cup host cities, there were reports of widespread looting & homicides.
Because the bus strike was started by a dissident faction within the São Paulo driver's union & not the union itself, the city government has been able to do no more than condemn it. The city had negotiated a 10 percent salary raise with the official union on Monday, yet some factions wanted more.
Though some buses were running on Wednesday, at least 12 garages remained closed. Acts of vandalism were reported, including buses set on fire. It is unclear when the strike will end.
Many new public transport projects promised for the World Cup have not been started & many are unfinished, leading to widespread anger over the cost of building or renovating stadiums that have become symbols of waste.
The broken promises contributed to waves of street protests last year & have injure the popularity of President Dilma Rousseff ahead of elections in October. Another wave of protests could further hamper transportation when the games start, & moreover threaten Rousseff's re-election bid.
São Paulo will host the opening match between Brazil & Croatia on June 12 at a new stadium that has been criticized for costing too much to build & moreover for driving up property values & pricing long-time residents out of a working-class neighborhood.
(Editing by Todd Benson & David Gregorio)
Society & CultureTransportationSão PauloBrazil