London Underground has released the results of a new poll which suggests strong public support for plans to close ticket offices and move staff to new roles in ticket halls and on platforms.
TfL and Mayor Boris Johnson say the reforms are needed to reflect the rising use of Oyster and expected popularity of contactless debit and credit cards which will introduced to the Tube this year.
Since 2007 TfL has seen a marked decline in the number of ticket sales at traditional offices as Londoners increasingly took to managing their Oyster cards online and topping up at local newsagents and retailers.
Unions say the closures are dangerous and will lead to a less safe and less well staffed network, claims denied by both City Hall and TfL bosses who say all stations will remain staffed during opening hours.
They also insist new technology will allow staff to serve and assist passengers while moving around stations.
Members of the RMT and TSSA unions will hold two 48-hour strikes, the first of which will start on Tuesday 4th February.
Despite union opposition, 82% of those asked in today’s poll backed the plans while 89 per cent supported the introduction of a new weekend Night Tube service from 2015.
LU Managing Director, Mike Brown MVO said the polls showed Londoners “overwhelmingly” backed modernisation and called on the unions to “nd their threat to disrupt Londoners with strike action and to work with us to shape the future of a modern Tube for this great city.”
2,012 Londoners were polled by SPA Future Thinking on behalf of TfL from 20 – 26 January, 2014;
Two key questions were put to Londoners, as follows:
Q: Today, due to Oyster and other innovations, just 3% of Tube journeys involve a visit to a ticket office. So in future, Transport for London proposes that staff are moved from inside ticket offices to ticket halls and platforms where they can provide the best face-to-face service to customers. As a result, there will be more staff visible and available to help customers buy the right ticket, plan their journeys and keep them safe and secure. Transport for London is committed to delivering this change with no compulsory redundancies;
Q: Following work to modernise and upgrade key parts of the Tube, Transport for London can now undertake less intensive overnight maintenance, while ensuring they can still run safe and reliable services. So Transport for London now proposes to run the Tube 24 hours a day at weekends on key lines – Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria – from 2015.