Tube bosses 'plan to cut 1,500 jobs and ticket offices

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wintonian

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Tube bosses 'plan to cut 1,500 jobs and ticket offices


London Underground (LU) plans to axe more than 1,500 jobs and close all but 30 ticket offices, the Rail, Maritime and Transport union has claimed.

It quotes a strategy document, leaked to BBC London, which includes proposals to run driverless trains and replace drivers with "train attendants".

The union said the document "ignores reality in favour of austerity".

LU said the document was a discussion paper and did not represent any agreed proposals.
'Recruitment freeze'

The confidential document called Operational Strategy Discussion Paper and dated July 2011, looks at how the service will evolve over the next decade and examines "reducing operational costs by up to 20%".

It predicts the closure of most ticket offices by 2016 as more people use contact-less bank cards or Oyster smartcards to pay for their journeys.

Across London 30 ticket offices will remain which will become "travel centres", the paper says.

The strategy document predicts that by 2017 only 20% of trains will be manually operated with drivers in cabs, and beyond 2020 all lines are expected to have "fully remote train operations".

There are also mentions of a recruitment freeze and "imposing" overtime and part-time working.

Bob Crow, the RMT's general secretary, said: "Every single ticket office would be closed, stations left un-staffed and drivers would be thrown out of their cabs without a single thought for passenger safety.
'Fresh thinking'

"This ill-conceived and finance-led document ignores reality in favour of austerity and would impact on every single staff member on London Underground.

Transport for London's (TfL) Mike Brown said it it needed to look ahead to see how new technologies could help to continue to provide an efficient and modern underground system.

He added: "This discussion paper was prepared purely to stimulate fresh thinking within London Underground.

"It has not been adopted by LU senior management, the TfL board or the mayor and so does not represent agreed proposals for change."
BBC

This current trend for 'faceless' ('employeeless' in some cases?) public transport is starting to get on my nerves. :(
 
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NSEFAN

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By making people redundant, the cost of employing staff is reduced. The cost of more people claiming unemployment benefits, however, will only increase, cancelling any financial benefit from the initial cuts. (This is especially true right now, given the general lack of jobs available.)

As both benefits and TfL are ultimately managed and paid for by the government, the whole operation becomes a bit pointless if the aim is to save money.

This assumes that it costs roughly the same to subsidise a job as it does to hand out benefits. If this is true, then people might as well be in work. If anyone knows the figures, it would be interesting to see if this is the case.
 

Schnellzug

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Well, TfL has to to save money to pay for the New Bus for London.


But seriously though, on the question of Driverless trains, other cities seem to manage to have very efficient, and safe, automated Metros, although please keep staff on the trains, even if they're not actually driving. I'm not sure about the Ticket Office question; I can see that automated ticketing is making the old fashioned Ticket Office rather obsolete, perhaps the best idea would be to have staffed information points at all the more significant stations, able to help with queries and ticketing questions and so on.
 

ushawk

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Driverless trains i dont agree with on a safety level, ATO should be used but a trained driver (or Train Attendant in TFL's terms) should be at the controls as well in case anything goes wrong.

Really disagree with closing ticket offices too, Oyster and Self-Service machines were always going to become more widely used, but if theres a problem with your Oyster, or say the machines then broken, then what ? As Tube stations are all gated and then the barriers could reject a ticket and you cant get through, do TFL seriously think things through ? Yes money needs saving (already going to be getting more money when the fares go up) but cutting frontline jobs isnt the answer.
 

wintonian

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Don't the have that on the DLR where ticket inspecters etc. can lift the lid and take control if necessary?

If your Oyster played up I assume they would expect you to go to one of these 'travel centers' and I doubt you would get your cash fare back.

Sent from my HTC Desire S
 

Rational Plan

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All this automated stuff means is that the trains will operate ATO like the Victoria line, it still has drivers on it. There is no prospect of making the lines truly automatically operated.

As for the Ticket office issue, as the stations are gated, that means staff need to be there in case of problems. What do to gate staff do now to solve Oyster problems if the ticket office is closed?

TFL has thousands of employess, 1500 jobs is not going to leave it an unstaffed metro.
 

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All this automated stuff means is that the trains will operate ATO like the Victoria line, it still has drivers on it. There is no prospect of making the lines truly automatically operated.
There is. The discussion paper looks at the prospect of various levels of automation.

As for the Ticket office issue, as the stations are gated, that means staff need to be there in case of problems. What do to gate staff do now to solve Oyster problems if the ticket office is closed?
A project is currently being worked on which enables staff in the ticket hall to resolve a number of issues on the Poms. Many of these functions can already be carried out by trained ticket-office staff.

TFL has thousands of employess, 1500 jobs is not going to leave it an unstaffed metro.
Indeed. Many of the proposals under discussion (note: not a confirmed strategy) include closure of ticket offices and removal of staff at certain locations in the middle of the night when no trains are running. All stations would still be staffed during the traffic day as at present. This discussion paper however only affects LU, not TfL.

Unfortunately the years and years of huge cost rises, overstaffing and unreasonable pay settlements have to end with something somewhere.
 

WinterChief

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What could a driver do in the front of the train (Say on the Current Jubilee, Victoria and Central lines) that he couldn't do in the saloon?

I am all for it.

However, there's only so many cutbacks that will start to affect the people, like cutting stations. It'll just make it a muggers/ homeless paradise (as Bob put it!)

There is a very fine line here...
 

Wolfie

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Well, TfL has to to save money to pay for the New Bus for London.


But seriously though, on the question of Driverless trains, other cities seem to manage to have very efficient, and safe, automated Metros, although please keep staff on the trains, even if they're not actually driving. I'm not sure about the Ticket Office question; I can see that automated ticketing is making the old fashioned Ticket Office rather obsolete, perhaps the best idea would be to have staffed information points at all the more significant stations, able to help with queries and ticketing questions and so on.
Some other cities have automated Metros, normally recently built with spacious modern stations at minimal depth built by "cut and cover". We have an old system with cramped, illogical stations many of which are very deep indeed. Another Boris idiocy in my view - all the guy needs is a red nose and some size 18 shoes..... (and he can stick his new bus right up...... - Ken will cancel it anyway!!!)
 

Mojo

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Some other cities have automated Metros, normally recently built with spacious modern stations at minimal depth built by "cut and cover". We have an old system with cramped, illogical stations many of which are very deep indeed. Another Boris idiocy in my view - all the guy needs is a red nose and some size 18 shoes..... (and he can stick his new bus right up...... - Ken will cancel it anyway!!!)
This is nothing to do with Boris. It is a discussion paper prepared in-house by London Underground.
 

fIIsion

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What could a driver do in the front of the train (Say on the Current Jubilee, Victoria and Central lines) that he couldn't do in the saloon?

I am all for it.

However, there's only so many cutbacks that will start to affect the people, like cutting stations. It'll just make it a muggers/ homeless paradise (as Bob put it!)

There is a very fine line here...
If ATO breaks down, what use will the driver be in the saloon?; as a matter of fact what would be the point of being in the saloon in the first place?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
There is. The discussion paper looks at the prospect of various levels of automation.

A project is currently being worked on which enables staff in the ticket hall to resolve a number of issues on the Poms. Many of these functions can already be carried out by trained ticket-office staff.

Indeed. Many of the proposals under discussion (note: not a confirmed strategy) include closure of ticket offices and removal of staff at certain locations in the middle of the night when no trains are running. All stations would still be staffed during the traffic day as at present. This discussion paper however only affects LU, not TfL.

Unfortunately the years and years of huge cost rises, overstaffing and unreasonable pay settlements have to end with something somewhere.
overstaffing and unreasonable pay settlements! facts or just your personal bias??
 
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Without taking any sides, I'd respectfully suggest that companies in any sector dont enjoy dealing with a heavily unionised workforce.

That isnt a problem in itself and indeed can be quite healthy. But if the perception is that a heavily unionised workforce is, how can I put it, a little overkeen to take industrial action then a company would want to explore ways to lessen this impact.

As I say, no opinions offered on the rights and wrongs. But a flexible workforce is always the preference in any big company.
 

Mojo

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overstaffing and unreasonable pay settlements! facts or just your personal bias??
Neither; it's my own opinion based on having looked at the facts, both as an outsider looking in, and an insider looking around.

Well you have to ask the questions "are LU appropriately staffed to deliver excellent customer service?" and "are the pay and conditions representative of not only the benchmark in the industry but also society in general?" The facts are that London Underground pay its station staff more than any other CoMET member, representative to the duties they undertake and the comparative cost of living in those locations.
 

fIIsion

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I would say the preference of any big company would be to maximise profits; by paying its staff the lowest wage it could get away with, keeping staff numbers to a minimum, offering little or no benefits to its employees and working within a framework devoid of regulation and employment law.

Its all really a matter of perspective.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Neither; it's my own opinion based on having looked at the facts, both as an outsider looking in, and an insider looking around.

Well you have to ask the questions "are LU appropriately staffed to deliver excellent customer service?" and "are the pay and conditions representative of not only the benchmark in the industry but also society in general?" The facts are that London Underground pay its station staff more than any other CoMET member, representative to the duties they undertake and the comparative cost of living in those locations.


You ask are LU appropriately staffed to deliver excellent customer service?
My answer is no and that is based on direct observation.
I have worked in various stations that were undermanned with ticket offices closed and gatelines unstaffed.

You refer to pay and conditions representative to society in general! I suppose your going to wheel out that old chesnut that drivers, etc get paid more than nurses, teachers and so forth.
Perhaps your right, or perhaps people in those industries should be paid more.
As a driver, I'm aware that my own salary is on par with and in fact lower than drivers in other TOC's.

But what is your point? do you believe that overstaffing and in your opinion over generous salaries are the driving forces for these job cuts?
 
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Mojo

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You ask are LU appropriately staffed to deliver excellent customer service?
My answer is no and that is based on direct observation.
Customer satisfaction on LU is rising per year but there are still a number of omissions. Service is not being delivered because there is a lack of flexibility, because some individuals feel they can get away with providing bad service and because it is not keeping up with the need for change. In the future, most customers will be able to pay for their journeys with their credit/debit card or Oyster card. For those that cannot, ticket machines can be used. If someone has trouble using this then a member of staff can help.

You refer to pay and conditions representative to society in general! I suppose your going to wheel out that old chesnut that drivers, etc get paid more than nurses, teachers and so forth.
Perhaps your right, or perhaps people in those industries should be paid more.
Maybe they should, but a general salary increase across the board leads to inflation and other economic nasties. Or maybe the fact that up until now there has been no alternative for railway companies to pay above the market rate for their employees.
As a driver, I'm aware that my own salary is on par with and in fact lower than drivers in other TOC's.
It isn't all about salary though. Job satisfaction is a key factor. If you don't feel you're paid enough and you aren't satisfied, then perhaps you are in the wrong job?

But what is your point? do you believe that overstaffing and in your opinion over generous salaries are the driving forces for these job cuts?
Yes. Customers are fed up with fare rises. Savings have to come from somewhere, and making savings where the service will not be adversely affected seems to make sense to me.
 

fIIsion

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Customer satisfaction on LU is rising per year but there are still a number of omissions. Service is not being delivered because there is a lack of flexibility, because some individuals feel they can get away with providing bad service and because it is not keeping up with the need for change. In the future, most customers will be able to pay for their journeys with their credit/debit card or Oyster card. For those that cannot, ticket machines can be used. If someone has trouble using this then a member of staff can help.

Not sure what your trying to say here exactly; its somewhat vague which leads me to believe that you lack the perspective as seen from those on the frontline.
Keeping up with the need for change is just another way of telling people that they are going to lose their job; and you still expect happy faces?
Maybe they should, but a general salary increase across the board leads to inflation and other economic nasties. Or maybe the fact that up until now there has been no alternative for railway companies to pay above the market rate for their employees.

As I stated before, my salary as a driver is not above the market rate. As for station staff, perhaps they do have a better deal than comparative postions in other TOC's, but I think that says more about those companies who are more profit driven than the worth of LUL staff.It isn't all about salary though. Job satisfaction is a key factor. If you don't feel you're paid enough and you aren't satisfied, then perhaps you are in the wrong job?

Not sure where you get this idea from; I'm very happy with my job and the pay that I receive, I just want to make it clear to those who believe that LUL drivers are overpaid or compare our salaries to people in other industries without an appreciation of the industry standard for the driver grade.Yes. Customers are fed up with fare rises. Savings have to come from somewhere, and making savings where the service will not be adversely affected seems to make sense to me.
I'm just a simple working man, trying to earn a living to support myself and my family. What I see is working people losing their livelyhoods because of greedy bankers and reckless politicians who have helped create the financial debarkel that we are now in and we have to pay for in the name of change and progress.
 
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Mojo

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I find it very difficult to respond to your points where the quote system is not used correctly, but I shall try.

You say that I lack perspective from the front line. This works both ways; I could easily say that you lack perspective from other areas. The facts are, most customers do, and are willing to use self-service if it is easier.

You may feel you are not being paid as well as people working for Tocs, but then the job is much more different. In any case, the salaries paid by Tocs are hugely outstripping the average salary increase.
 

notadriver

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I find it very difficult to respond to your points where the quote system is not used correctly, but I shall try.

You say that I lack perspective from the front line. This works both ways; I could easily say that you lack perspective from other areas. The facts are, most customers do, and are willing to use self-service if it is easier.

You may feel you are not being paid as well as people working for Tocs, but then the job is much more different. In any case, the salaries paid by Tocs are hugely outstripping the average salary increase.
Just out if curiosity how is tube driving different from train driving with a TOC? Surely train driving is train driving and should be paid the same? Does Joe public distinguish between tube drivers and train drivers ?
 

Wolfie

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This is nothing to do with Boris. It is a discussion paper prepared in-house by London Underground.
REALLY??? My 30 years of working in Whitehall and rather too close proximity to politicians suggests to me that you are either displaying a staggering level of naivety or being deliberately obtuse!

Who sets the stragetic direction for TfL and hence implicitly London Underground? Who has publicly raised the issue of driverless trains previously?

I fear that this will in the short-medium term come back to bite London in the rear-end - if Boris almost wanted to guarantee industrial action during the Olympics this is not a bad way to go........
 

Mojo

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Just out if curiosity how is tube driving different from train driving with a TOC? Surely train driving is train driving and should be paid the same? Does Joe public distinguish between tube drivers and train drivers ?
Having never been in that role for a Toc I cannot say, but I base my observations on a comment made by someone on this forum in the past, as well as a driver from NXEA who made a comment on a recent IRO visit to a London Underground depot.

REALLY??? My 30 years of working in Whitehall and rather too close proximity to politicians suggests to me that you are either displaying a staggering level of naivety or being deliberately obtuse!

Who sets the stragetic direction for TfL and hence implicitly London Underground? Who has publicly raised the issue of driverless trains previously?
The Mayor sets the strategic direction, but it is not to the level of micromanagement as to say "you must cut jobs here, here and here." Funding to TfL, and then to London Underground is changing, so the Directors and Senior Management of both organisations have appointed a department to investigate possible savings in operations.

I fear that this will in the short-medium term come back to bite London in the rear-end - if Boris almost wanted to guarantee industrial action during the Olympics this is not a bad way to go........
If this discussion paper was taken forwards, then any changes would not happen until post-Olympics.
 

notadriver

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Having never been in that role for a Toc I cannot say, but I base my observations on a comment made by someone on this forum in the past, as well as a driver from NXEA who made a comment on a recent IRO visit to a London Underground depot.
Just out of curiosity what were the comments? (I don't work for LU).

I think there are going to be many changes post Olympics for many people not just those working on the railway.
 

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Just out of curiosity what were the comments? (I don't work for LU).
Unfortunately I do not have a copy of the article here, but and wouldn't like to misquote someone, but she said something like it was a lot less complex, or something along those lines.

This does not reflect my personal opinion. If you don't think you're being paid well in a certain company then you can either put pressure on the organisation to pay more, or move. The point is though that is it perhaps the case that the salary elsewhere is too high?
 

wintonian

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This is starting to sound like a party political debate now. :)

Roughly how many people work for LU and in which departments i.e. drivers, ticket office staff, customer service, back office etc..?
 

tbtc

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I love the way that old Bob comes up with a snappy quote:

drivers would be thrown out of their cabs
Seriously though, if very few people now buy a ticket each day (due to Oyster etc), the technology allows driver-less trains, and drivers are going to be earning over £50,000 (plus employer pension contribtions, employer NI conts etc) then you'd have to be a pretty naive company not to at least consider whether you could provide a similar level of service with fewer staff?

Seems to me that this is what they are doing - not changing anything at the moment, but at least considering what they could do in the future as things change (both in terms of technology and demand). Ultimately its about what passengers want, not what TfL/ LUL/ Unions want.
 

fIIsion

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I find it very difficult to respond to your points where the quote system is not used correctly, but I shall try.

You say that I lack perspective from the front line. This works both ways; I could easily say that you lack perspective from other areas. The facts are, most customers do, and are willing to use self-service if it is easier.

You may feel you are not being paid as well as people working for Tocs, but then the job is much more different. In any case, the salaries paid by Tocs are hugely outstripping the average salary increase.
I'm relativley new to this website and IT was never my strongest point, however I digress.....
What other areas are you referring to? I thought we were discussing your point raised in reference to overstaffing. I do not have the benefit of reams of statistical data to draw conclusions from; however closed ticket offices, queues and unstaffed gatelines are a reality observed on a daliy basis.

As far as customers willing to use self service; what are your facts based on? customer satisfaction surveys??
Over 3 million people use the tube daily, how many of those actually fill those things out; what would constitute a reasonalby large enough sample to become fact?
Judging by the queues I see every morning as I pass through my local station (not zone 1) I would beg to differ (unless of course the ticket office is closed)

I have already stated that I'm happy with my salary and since you have never worked in the grade for any TOC, the differences you talk about are again based on opinion rather than any factual evdience.
 

Deerfold

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The Mayor sets the strategic direction, but it is not to the level of micromanagement as to say "you must cut jobs here, here and here." Funding to TfL, and then to London Underground is changing, so the Directors and Senior Management of both organisations have appointed a department to investigate possible savings in operations.
The Mayor micromanages when it suits him.
 

notadriver

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I love the way that old Bob comes up with a snappy quote:



Seriously though, if very few people now buy a ticket each day (due to Oyster etc), the technology allows driver-less trains, and drivers are going to be earning over £50,000 (plus employer pension contribtions, employer NI conts etc) then you'd have to be a pretty naive company not to at least consider whether you could provide a similar level of service with fewer staff?

Seems to me that this is what they are doing - not changing anything at the moment, but at least considering what they could do in the future as things change (both in terms of technology and demand). Ultimately its about what passengers want, not what TfL/ LUL/ Unions want.
I'm still unsure how the driverless train idea will work. I mean are we talking about completely new trains or using the existing stock ? If we get new trains won't that be expensive ? If existing stock is used what about the drivers cabs? Will they be occupied or empty? If there is an 'attendant' on board how much should they be paid?
 

jon0844

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I'm just a simple working man, trying to earn a living to support myself and my family. What I see is working people losing their livelyhoods because of greedy bankers and reckless politicians who have helped create the financial debarkel that we are now in and we have to pay for in the name of change and progress.
I bet a lot of ordinary people would gladly put a train driver in the same category as a greedy banker. I'm sure you'd agree?

For what it's worth, I know what a driver has to do (or, more importantly, what the driver may HAVE to do - which is why they're paid a lot of money) and given you obviously know this, why simply attack the 'greedy bankers'? Isn't that a little hypocritical?

Most of them were/are doing their job and haven't been earning huge bonuses at the expense of others, they've simply been doing their job to make money that ultimately leads to money being loaned to businesses, and boosting pension funds etc. We're in a capitalist society, so I am rather confused why we now think bankers shouldn't try and make US money - and earn a percentage, just as many professions pay commission.

Still, as a journalist, I'm also used to being tarred with the same brush as some of my bigger, higher-profile, counterparts that have forgotten about ethics (if they ever remembered them!).

I also believe that some politicians would quite like to avoid having to make unpopular cuts, yet we're at the point where it's not a case of if, but how. Ironically, the people who got us to where we are today will probably get back into power to do it again, as it's the coalition getting the blame as if they made all of this happen!
 

Rational Plan

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I thought driverless trains were out anyway, because the tunnels were to small for side walkways. They need someone to guide passengers in the event of an emergency and help them to the next station in the event of evacuation. Given the length of trains and there crowding, it seems difficult to imagine a train captain making his way along the carriages.

At the end of the day any glorified guard would need somewhere to sit. This is already provided for by the cab. You could end up with an argument about whether they are drivers or guards (and the subsequent salary) but if they can't operate a tube train without one due to safety considerations, the union still has the whip hand as far as salary negotiation is concerned.

The DLR copes with this because the trains are manned rather than the stations, the tube is too big and crowded to have unmanned stations in the centre, not sure how that will work out in the suburbs.
 
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