diamond geezer

 Tuesday, September 07, 2010

So, this tube strike. The one that's strangling the capital at the moment. What's it all about?

It's about ticket office closures. TfL have some proposals to shrink ticket office opening hours, because far fewer travellers use ticket offices these days. And the unions are unhappy because having fewer staff at stations makes stations less safe. TfL argue that staff are more useful out and about in ticket halls where they can directly assist the public. And the unions reply yeah right, we can see this is really a job cutting exercise, and we hate you. Or something like that.

These closure proposals are nothing new. TfL wheeled them out six months ago and said here's what we're proposing to do next February, let's have a consultation about it. And they published a list showing how they want to cut ticket office opening hours at every station that's still got a ticket office. You probably haven't studied it in much detail. But if you're walking five miles home tonight because of an arbitration-level slanging match, perhaps you should.

Let's start by picking a typical central London ticket office and seeing what the proposed effects might mean...

Leicester SquareMon-FriSatSun
Now0730-00300830-00300900-0000
Proposed0830-00150930-00300945-2330
difference-1¼hrs-1hr-1¼hrs

Well that doesn't look too terrible, does it? A bit of trimming in the early hours, before the West End is busy, and closing slightly earlier as services wind down for the day. Whatever are the unions protesting about? But Leicester Square isn't typical. Let's try a station in the City...

MonumentMon-FriSatSun
Now0630-22001000-17301100-1800
Proposed1700-1830closedclosed
difference-14hrs-7½hrs-7hrs

Ouch! Monument's having its opening hours well nigh extinguished. From all day on weekdays to a runty hour and a half in the evening rush, then shut down completely on Saturdays and Sundays. OK, so the City gets a lot quieter at weekends, but isn't this a vast over-reaction? No, this is one of TfL's deliberate strategies - to greatly reduce the opening hours at extra ticket halls when a station has more than one. In this case Monument is deemed to be part of the same station complex as Bank, where no such savage cuts are proposed, so anyone wanting to buy a ticket can always walk down King William Street for a few minutes and pay up there. It may not be convenient for would-be passengers, but these aren't officially weekend 'closures'. OK, out to zone 2...

Bow RoadMon-FriSatSun
Now0600-19300700-20300930-1930
Proposed0700-17450900-14451000-1500
difference-2¾hrs-7¾hrs-5hrs

Bow Road's my local station, and fairly typical of middly-usage stations in the inner suburbs. There's some morning trimback here, notably on Saturdays, but the real impact's later on. Never again will the ticket office be open in the evening, and at weekends it'll shut considerably earlier than that. "How awful," you cry, and yet I wonder how few tickets are sold at Bow Road during these off-peak times. TfL give a hint in their latest press release, where they say "The quietest ticket offices include North Ealing, which sells less than six tickets per hour, and Latimer Road and Moor Park, which sell only around seven tickets per hour". That's much higher than I was expecting, to be honest - six tickets a day would seem better justification for closure. But let's see what they're planning at a similarly quiet station...

Bromley-by-BowMon-FriSatSun
Now0630-19300830-16300900-2000
Proposed0800-09301100-12001300-1400
difference-11½hrs-7hrs-10hrs

Ouch! Proper ouch this time. From pretty much all day to a token opening of little practical value. Those weekend times are particularly hopeless - a single hour, a different hour each day. No doubt ticket sales will tumble even further as would-be purchasers forget when to turn up, and then TfL will use this as an excuse to shut the office completely at weekends come the next round of closures. Because there will be a next round of closures. Most Londoners are swanning around with Oysters, not paper tickets, so what's the point of keeping outlying ticket offices open in case a rogue tourist turns up? And if you want proof, here are the opening hours at the tube's newest station...

Wood LaneMon-FriSatSun
Now---
Proposed---
difference---

All blank, because Wood Lane was deliberately built without a ticket office. End of the world? Three million passengers successfully used this station last year, so I guess not. If you want to buy a ticket here there's a machine, and a few staff who might be able to help you while you attempt to use it. Possibly not so many staff as there used to be, though, not once TfL's programme of voluntary redundancies goes ahead. The future's in cuts, the future's in do-it-yourself. Walking home from work tonight will be good practice.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream