diamond geezer

 Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Last week there was the Night Tube Map.

Now there's the How Many Staff Will There Be At My Tube Station in 2015? map.

TfL have divided up all their Underground stations into four categories - Gateway, Destination, Metro and Local.

  • Gateway stations (blue on the map) are those where the most tourists are expected to arrive. There are only 6 of them (for example, Euston, Victoria) They won't have a ticket office, but they will have a Visitor Information Centre which can deal with ticketing queries. From the end of next year, if these proposals go ahead, these stations will have more visible staff than they do now (maybe five extra at the busiest times).
  • Destination stations (pink on the map) are busy stations in Central London with high volumes of passengers. There are 29 of them (for example, Baker Street, North Greenwich). They won't have a ticket office. From the end of next year they too will have more visible staff than they do now (maybe three extra at the busiest times).
  • Metro stations (orange on the map) are predominantly in inner London and serve communities with many regular users. There are 102 of them (for example, St James's Park, Bow Road). They won't have a ticket office. From the end of next year expect one additional visible member of staff at the busiest times (but expect a reduction in the number of station staff overall).
  • Local stations are all the others, that's 125 in total, and are generally in outer London. None of them are underground. They won't have a ticket office. They're split into two groups, A and B.
    - Local A stations (green on the map) have "some operational complexity", like a lift or escalators, or points, or occasional congestion. There are 64 of them (for example Bromley-by-Bow, Hendon Central). From the end of next year expect no change in the visible number of staff - still one. But there'll be no Station Supervisor any more, only a roving manager responsible for half a dozen stations.
    - Local B stations (purple on the map) have "no operational complexity", so aren't especially tough to run. There are 61 of them (for example Kew Gardens, Chorleywood). From the end of next year expect no change in the visible number of staff - still one. But that member of staff will only be a Customer Service Agent (one rung lower than the Customer Service Supervisor at a Local A station). Again there'll no longer be a Station Supervisor, only a roving manager responsible for half a dozen stations.
  • Meanwhile the seven Underground stations run by National Rail (yellow on the map) won't be affected at all, and most will continue to have a ticket office.

    Overall that's more staff at a few central busy stations, but fewer staff overall elsewhere, with a general downskilling of employment competencies required. Expect 228 existing Station Manager roles to be slashed to 97, 1771 existing Station Supervisor roles to be cut back to 971 and 3748 Station Assistant roles to be trimmed to 3294. TfL are very deliberately utilising technology to create "a less expensive staffing model".

    If you want the full list of which station is in which category, and what it all means, head over to London Reconnections. They have one of their usual in-depth broad and balanced posts on the subject (and another on the Night Tube), along with a busy thread underneath that's already approaching 100 comments.

    Or you could see what TfL have to say. They've put together a website to explain their proposed raft of changes to staff, entitled fitforthefuture.tfl.gov.uk. Some of the content requires logging in, but the rest is public facing, so we can read all the details there. We learn that there'll be "an additional 450 employees in busy ticket halls helping to provide world-class customer service where it’s needed." We learn that TfL plan to "install an additional 120 ticket machines." And we're reassured that "every Tube station will be visibly staffed and controlled by our people during operating hours."

    Anyone can download the 24 page booklet which attempts to explain everything to staff. Anyone can read a 50-page Powerpoint-style presentation which explains a lot of the rationale. Meanwhile on the website there's a list of FAQs containing over 100 frequently asked questions, which helps shed light on some of the finer detail of the forthcoming proposals. Here are five of those questions and their answers (and feel free to dig for more).

    What are the proposals for ticket offices and ticket halls?
    It is proposed that ticket offices would close in line with changing customer behaviour and a decision to bring customer service into the ticket hall, rather than kept behind barriers. Staff would be trained in customer service and would proactively help customers in the ticket hall and at ticket machines to ensure they have all the information they need for their journey.

    When do you propose to make the changes?
    Subject to consultation we expect staff to have their role and location confirmed by Autumn 2014, we would start implementing the changes across the network from Winter 2014 and no one would leave the organisation (under Voluntary Severance) until February 2015 at the earliest.

    What improvements are being made to ticket machines?
    Ticket machines will be upgraded to have more intuitive screens to help customers purchase their tickets more easily. All ticket machines on the network will be upgraded to have the same screens. They will be able to offer low value pay as you go refunds on Oyster cards.

    1 in 5 people (21%) still buy their ticket from the ticket office – what are you going to do for these people? (blimey, 21%!)
    We believe these sales can be absorbed in other channels, such as ticket machines. Customer research shows that the use of ticket machines is increasing and that customers want to be self-sufficient where possible when buying tickets. The proposals include an upgrade to existing ticket machines to make the screens more intuitive and easier for the customer to use. In addition, every station would have Customer Service Agents in the ticket halls to assist customers in buying the right ticket for their journey.

    Who will be offered Voluntary Severance?
    If you are currently a Station Control Room Assistant, Station Assistant Multi-Functional, Supervisor or Duty Station Manager, it is proposed that you will have the opportunity to apply for Voluntary Severance from mid December 2013. Subject to consultation, applications will be considered and the outcomes communicated in Spring 2014.

    (and here are five Night Tube FAQs)

    How many trains per hour can we expect to see delivered by the all night running?
    The current plan is for four trains per hour. On the Northern line Charing Cross branch, this will be eight, with four serving each of the High Barnet and Edgware branches.

    What does Night tube mean for track maintenance?
    Track inspections will continue as required, but as we renew our track in modern form it doesn’t generally need to be inspected as frequently as our older legacy track. We are planning to develop improved critical components for our older track, designed to reduce failures and the volume of inspection and maintenance required. Those maintenance tasks that cannot be fitted into engineering hours will be carried out in longer track closures, possibly created by specially extending engineering hours.

    Will this mean less Night Buses?
    It is likely that the night bus network will change, with some frequency changes and possibly some new routes to complement the overnight Tube network. No routes are expected to be removed. London Buses will develop their plans over the coming months.

    You are calling this Phase 1 – when is Phase 2?
    Phase 2 is intended to introduce overnight service on some of the sub-surface lines after the Sub-Surface Upgrade is complete, possibly in 2019.

    Why aren’t we running Trams and the Emirates Airline at night?
    There is no or limited demand for travel on the Tramlink or Emirates Airline routes overnight. However we will continue to review the changes in travel patterns after we start running the Tube overnight.

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