Friday 22 November 2013

Well I suppose I’d better say something, how about “told you so”.

Apart from a few big stations all ticket offices are closing, exactly what I predicted when they announced the introduction of Oyster, exactly why I chose to switch from stations to trains over ten years ago.  Boris made a ridiculous statement when asked about his 2008 pledge to keep every ticket office open, claiming that the advances in technology over the last 6 years had changed things, laughable when this was planned before the position of Mayor even existed.  He also said it was doubtful we'd need "more old-fashioned drivers in the train" which contradicted LUL's statement that they’d need 200 more TOps to run the Tube all night on Fridays and Saturdays; obviously a detail he didn't do.

RMT and TSSA are predictably making a lot of noise but I doubt if the station staff have much enthusiasm for a fight after last time, the ones I’ve talked to seem reconciled to the inevitable so why lose a day’s pay in a pointless strike, it would just be banging your head against a brick wall.  Nearly a thousand jobs will go although we are told there will be no compulsory redundancies, they’ve probably already got rid of some by not filling vacancies over the last year or two, retirement will deal with a few more and some will follow my career path to fill those 200 new TOp jobs.

Apparently we’re copying some maintenance system they use in Hong Kong to make 24 hour running possible, I’m not sure if it’s a new machine or a different procedure but oddly the MTR doesn’t run 24 hours, it keeps pretty much the same hours we do.  We’ve got two years to sort out the timetables and rosters, to negotiate any changes to our terms and conditions but I’m sure none of you will be surprised to hear that I am somewhat less than enthusiastic about the prospect of having to work nights again.

Doing seven nights in a row messed with my sleep and health, what doing late shifts for three days, switching to two nights, having Sunday off and then going back to a late shift on Monday is going to do to  my system, or anyone else’s, is a worry.  I might consider putting in a transfer to Barking or Upminster as the District won’t be running at night, at least until they get ATO in 2018.  I might even look at Crossrail if they have a depot over this side of town and there’s London Overground at Stratford, that would suit me, I’m sure my contact there could sort me out.

Interesting times.


  1. Of course the ticket offices should close, LU needs to move with the times. I mean, no sensible public transport operator would buy buses in 2013 that needed a crew of two would they? Oh, hang on...

  2. As a T/op elsewhere I too am keeping an eye on Crossrail because the fututre is looking bleaker every day. Nearest depot our side of London will be Ilford.

  3. I would definitely advise trying to get into a mainline driving role, both for the job security (widespread ATO on the mainline is a good 50-100 years off yet), and the increased variety in possible drivers (while a Central line driver can only really easily move to other underground lines, an LO (say) driver could move to any other TOC anywhere in the country and not need retraining (apart from traction and routes))

  4. for "possible drivers" read "possible career changes" (brainfart)