Transport for London has published further details of its plans for Tube station modernisation as the RMT union holds a second 48-hour strike

Transport for London has published initial artists’ impressions of how small and large Tube stations could be developed commercially under its programme to modernise customer experience and facilities. The changes will involve the closure of all ticket offices and affect 5,750 staff whose jobs will be reviewed. They will be offered  on-station customer service roles or voluntary redundancy.

The picture shows Shepherd’s Bush station with ticket office removed and the space used by a convenience store.  Enhanced ticket retailing and information would be provided by moving staff from ticket offices to ‘floorwalking’ customer service roles, a clearly signed information point, upgrading ticket machines  with on-screen information simpler to understand, and installing more ticket machines
at gateway and destination stations.  In addition, Visitor Information Centres would be provided at key stations.

The closure of ticket offices would lead to savings of £50m a year through a reduction of 950 posts. TfL said over 650 staff had already applied for redundancy, 200 additional jobs would be created by the new 24-hour ‘Night Tube’ service at weekends from 2015, that the opportunity to apply for existing vacancies meant no staff will face compulsory redundancy, and that it would seek to ensure no reduction in pay for affected staff.

However, the RMT union claimed that TfL had reneged on its promises. As Passenger Transport was going to press, the union was holding a second 48-hour strike over TfL’s plans after talks involving more than 40 meetings in the past two months broke down. A 72-hour strike has been called for May 5-8.

The union said TfL had proposed that a further 840 posts would be cut, and that affected staff would face a pay cut of up to £12,000. It also dismissed TfL’s position that less than 3% of customers visit a ticket office as “a barefaced lie”.

In an open letter to Londoners, TfL managing director Mike Brown denied RMT’s claims and reiterated TfL’s position on the number of staff affected and the benefits to passengers.

“Our stations will be transformed to become customer service centres, to help you buy the right ticket, plan your journey and to keep you safe and secure,” he said. “These changes will radically improve the service we offer our customers, enabling us to provide the high quality, personalised customer service we delivered during the London 2012 Games every day.”

Last ditch talks to avert the strike failed with the RMT claiming that TfL had rejected its request for a public consultation on the proposals.

 

This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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