By Jack Schouten
Transport for London has announced plans to axe ticket offices across the London Underground network by 2015, citing a huge reduction in demand and use.
TfL said the changes were needed to “ensure the infrastructure is robust enough to deal with extra demand” and assured customers the developments “will not disrupts peak times”.
The announcement comes shortly after TfL outlined the introduction of a 24-hour weekend tube service on some lines from 2015.
However, there are worries that jobs will be lost, as TfL “anticipates a net reduction of 750 posts” across the network.
London Underground currently employs around 18,000 people, 5,500 of which are station staff.
According to the Mayor of London and TfL’s press release, “TfL are committed to delivering the reduction in operational staff members without any compulsory redundancies.” However it is not clear yet how the service plans to accommodate for the sharp reduction in job posts.
On the subject of possible strikes, the spokesperson said “TfL will be working very closely with unions, and do not anticipate the sacking of anybody.”
The organization cited a 50% increase in bus demand [over the last three years], the need for face-to-face customer/staff interaction and a London population increase from 8.4m to 10m by 2030 among reasons for the changes.
A spokesperson also pointed out that “an average of just 3% of journeys require a visit to the ticket office”.
In their statement, TfL also stressed that the subsequent savings of the proposals’ delivery would be around £5m a year – £270m over the term of the TfL Business Plan 2020/21 – and even over the last three years a reduction in operating costs of 23%.
Yet, among other developments, include the announcement of a ticket price hike, however “much less than predicted” at inflation plus 2.5%.