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World Cup fans could be left stranded by Brazilian transit strike

Subway operators are on strike in Sao Paulo, right on the heels of an earlier bus strike. Have fun getting to World Cup games!

Victor Moriyama

If you're planning to travel to Brazil during the World Cup, you will need patience. Public transportation might not be operating at full speed.

A week before the first game of the World Cup, another major problem made the always-chaotic transit of Sao Paulo a complete mess after subway operators decided to start a strike on Wednesday night.

The subway in Sao Paulo, Brazil's biggest city, didn't work at full force on Thursday, generating more than 120 miles in traffic jams in the morning. Subway operators demand a 16.5 percent increase in wages, but the company is only willing to pay 8.7 percent.

Over the past month, bus drivers also created chaos in the city with a strike, and the service is not completely back to normal yet.

Geraldo Alckmin, governor of Sao Paulo, calls the strike "abusive" and says it brings major consequences to the population, a "mess without any reason." Only 30 of the 61 subway stations are working at the moment.

"We'll go with two orders of abusive strike and all their civil and labor consequences and, at the same time, with the request for bargaining," Alckmin told the media in Brazil. "It's up to the court to decide it. Then, we'll fulfill the court's decision. I hope we can solve it today. A strike that affects the population makes no sense. A small group, very political, brings consequences, paralysis, chaos and mess without any reason."

The subway operators want to negotiate directly with the governor.

"Our problem isn't with the court or the devil. It's with the governor," Altino Prazeres Junior, president of the labor union, told the media. "We want to negotiate with him."

There's no word yet on when the issue will be resolved, but public transport will likely be back to normal for the World Cup. Sao Paulo will host six games, starting with Brazil-Croatia on June 12.