Friday 8 November 2013

Further information on the cat of NOA, apparently we did have a ladder long enough as it was LUL’s Emergency Response Unit who rescued it and it showed its gratitude by running off the moment it got back down to earth; if you’d been stuck up on a bridge for 24 hours or more you’d need to find a bush pronto.  How it got there no one knows and the cat was obviously too embarrassed to offer any explanation.
Meanwhile the jellyhead GLA Tories are at it again, telling TfL that they could cut fares with money saved through getting rid of Dependents passes, getting the private sector to sponsor stations and changing our pension scheme.

They claim that they could save £17m by assuming that every Dependent’s pass is the equivalent of a Zone 1-6 yearly Travelcard but the obvious flaw in this calculation is that very few dependents would buy a 6 zone Travelcard if they didn’t have their pass.  My “dependant”, the ex-Mrs shrugged (yes, we’re still sharing Chez shrugged, a somewhat less than perfect situation), uses her card two or three times a year to travel into town from Zone 3, there wouldn’t be much saved from withdrawing her pass.

As for the suggestion that stations could be sponsored they claim that TfL’s estimates are exaggerated and cite the cost of advertising the recent closure of Blackfriars, a mere £8500, but that didn’t involve an actual name change, as one TfL spokesperson said it was simply a case of putting a black cross over the station name on maps, cheap and easy compared to changing all the signage on a station, etc, etc.

While I might be critical of LUL’s management in this blog I certainly do not underestimate the enthusiasm of their advertising and media department who would happily sell their grandmothers with LUL logos on if there was a market.  I have no doubt that if they thought that they could raise extra funding by getting the private sector to sponsor stations they’d be doing it already, the fact that they had an opportunity once before and it ended up being too expensive is all the evidence I need that this idea is a non-starter.

However the pension scheme is the really dangerous suggestion and while LUL’s management have on occasions displayed the tact and diplomacy of a drunken wildebeest even they aren’t stupid enough to open up that can of worms.  Any attempt to mess with our pensions would lead to an unprecedented event, industrial action by all three Unions in combination.  Apart from the Boxing Day dispute we’ve not lost a single day to industrial action since RMT walked out over the unfair dismissals in January 2011, every dispute has been settled by negotiation and no one on either side wants to rock the boat let alone capsize it.
Perhaps the Tories want a strike, they keep going on and on about how strikes should be made illegal on the Tube, they even got David Cameron to parrot their line and it must be quite frustrating that 2013 could be the first year with a single strike in a long while.

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