Socialist Worker

Ticket office closures will make London’s tube less safe

Issue No. 2182

London’s Tory mayor Boris Johnson is preparing a £5 billion cuts programme on London Underground, which will mean the closure of 144 station ticket offices and threats to 1,200 jobs.

The first phase of London Underground’s “Operational Services Review” proposes savage reductions, with only main terminals retaining a full ticket office.

Smaller stations will have offices only open at peak times, with the rest reduced to ticket machines only. Bosses expect the programme to be implemented by April next year.

This contradicts Johnson’s manifesto, in which he promised to halt “proposed ticket office closures”, and ensure “there is always a manned ticket office at every station”.

Bob Crow, the general secretary of the RMT union, which revealed the plan, said, “The savage cuts to jobs and ticket offices show that all the pledges about services to passengers being protected from the £5 billion cuts programme are worthless.

“The job cuts planned for underground stations would leave passengers dangerously exposed in the event of an emergency and would ratchet up the dangers for the public, particularly women, travelling late at night.

“The RMT will mobilise a campaign to stop these cuts.

“The pressure is now on Boris Johnson to stick to his word and ensure that this plan is ditched.”

The revelations emerged as it became clear that the Tube Lines – the private consortium that is responsible for maintenance work on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines – is heading for a crisis.

London Underground has drawn up plans to take it in-house, as happened to the Metronet consortium that carried out work on the other lines.

Tube Lines is suffering from finance problems and its upgrading of the Jubilee Line is running a year late.

The result of a strike ballot of 10,000 RMT transport union members on London Underground over pay is set for Monday of next week.

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Tue 15 Dec 2009, 17:35 GMT
Issue No. 2182
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