Night Time Tubes But No More Ticket Offices

Most radical changes to underground in its 150 years


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The number of Piccadilly line trains stopping at Turnham Green looks set to increase but not in the way campaigners had been expecting. The Mayor of London has today (20th November) announced huge changes to the tube service, most notably the closure of all ticket offices on the underground. To sweeten the pill a plan for a 24 hour Friday and Saturday night tube services was revealed at the same time.

Despite Boris Johnson’s manifesto commitment to keep them open every ticket office will close by 2015 with the loss of up to 750 jobs. The RMT union have described the plans as ’lethal’ and have already warned about the possibility of strike action which could take place before Christmas. TfL say there will be no compulsory redundancies as a result of the plan although staff may need to accept the need for ‘greater flexibility’.

Asked whether he could reduce front-line job losses by cutting the number of highly paid Transport for London executives, Mr Johnson said he’d already cut numbers by 25% and insisted there would be no compulsory redundancies.

TfL say that many stations will still have ticket halls rather than ticket offices and staff will be encouraged to deal face-to-face with passengers. There will be four different categories of stations including ‘Gateway’ stations such as major arrival points like Kings Cross, ‘Destination’ stations such as Leicester Square and ‘Metro’ and ‘Local’ stations. The distinction between the latter two remains unclear with the Metro station described as ‘dedicated customer service staff with the latest in mobile technology permanently located in ticket halls’ and Local station ‘will have staff stationed in ticket halls providing help to customers who need it’. TfL have committed that all stations will have staff working at them whilst trains are operating.

The night time tube service will initially run on the Victoria, Central, Jubilee and Northern lines as well as the Piccadilly line. This ‘core’ service is planned to start in 2015 with 24 hour operation being extended to all lines at a later date.

Boris Johnson said: 'This will not just boost jobs and our vibrant night-time economy, it will further cement London's reputation as the best big city on the planet to in which to live, work, visit and invest.'

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said, "The mayor must believe he is some sort of magician if he thinks he can slash a thousand jobs and still run safe services when everyone knows that staffing has already been cut to the bone while passenger demand continues to rise. Throwing in the plan for night time operation at the weekends is just a smokescreen to try and camouflage the real issue which is a savage cuts to jobs, access and safety."

London-wide Assembly Member Murad Qureshi AM said, “These plans are deeply worrying and could lead to a significant reduction in the service Londoners receive in our great city. The mayor was elected on a clear promise to keep ticket offices open. The last thing we need is a reduction in frontline staff. No station should be unstaffed while trains are running. At a time when fares are going up above inflation this is the very least Londoners should expect.

November 22, 2013

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