Transport for London has this week announced plans to close all its tube ticketing offices, leaving 750 employees without jobs. The company is facing business cuts of over £75 million. The job cuts are set to take place in between now and 2015; the future doesn’t look too bright for the transport staff of London Underground. However, the company has revealed that it has plans to move some staff from behind ticket office and onto the platforms to be more readily available to passengers.
Transport for London has said the cuts will be beneficial to passengers; eventually it could lead to ticket prices being reduced, as well as more staff being on hand to help. Some tube lines will also be open 24 hours over the weekends. All stations will be manned by employees during the tube opening times. Reducing the number of ticketing staff also means there will be more job opportunities for employees to directly help tourists through information points. More staff will be visible on the platforms on a daily basis. It is expected that the job cuts and general reduction of costs will save the organisation an estimated £40 million.
The company has also announced plans for underground Wifi at stations, and has promised to invest in newer trains and upgrading certain stations. Access for wheelchairs will be installed across stations, and new contactless pay points will be installed to make the ticketing process quicker and more efficient.
Transport for London are making a big leap into the 21st century; removing staff from all ticket offices essentially creates a virtual system for travelling on the underground. Many passengers use the famous blue Oyster cards to top up easy and make the journey across London that little bit nippier. This is a huge change for the London Underground and although it will leave many employees disappointed at the job cuts, passengers are pleased with the benefits.
The job cuts were announced in the same plans as 24 hour weekend tube lines; some would say this is to lighten the blow of the cuts as many Londoners will undoubtedly appreciate round the clock transport on Fridays and Saturdays. Inevitably the decision will be partly based on the opinions of tube passengers and the general public. The London Underground has assured that employees who are keen to hold on to a job with the organisation, will be given a job opportunity.
The representing body for the majority of Underground employees has backed staff by promising to fight for their jobs however possible. The organisation now has 3 months to consider these future plans, while tube staff wait nervously to hear the fate of their jobs.