Support the Tube strike

[Image is from 2008: Boris Johnson signing a petition against plans by Ken Livingstone to close 40 tube ticket offices, which was Ken’s policy, well TFL’s really…]

This video sums up what the two RMT and TSSA 48 hour strikes this week is about, and why you should support them. Yes it’s annoying to not have a good Tube service for most of a week, but I think there is something bigger at risk here, that affects everyone from tourists, to the disabled, vulnerable travellers and late night travelling to regular users of London Underground and the workers themselves. And as much as I dislike Bob Crow (I LOL’d at his swearing at the end) the attack on London Underground’s budget and rising prices affects pretty much everyone in London or who visits here in some way. Also, is Boris SERIOUSLY using Bob Crow’s holiday as a smoke screen about this? It’s a crime to go on holiday now? No wonder they’re striking.

Those £9.8 million cuts by 2021, which will lead to the closure of ALL ticket offices, broken untended machines (or very long queues for the ones that work) empty or lowly staffed stations with staff on zero hour contracts with all the safety, security and morale issues that brings, no off-peak Travelcard which as of 2014 has been cancelled, eventually driverless trains (!) and now that LUL wants to make buses cashless in mid 2014 – so if you don’t have a working machine or have lost your Oyster card, you are completely screwed. There aren’t machines on the street, so you’re reliant on either newsagents being open, or a station being open. Or walking, I guess.

Also forcing you to have an Oyster Card thus providing real privacy issues, you can’t be anonymous on the bus anymore, and soon that will be true of the rest of the network too. There’s also moves afoot to phase out Oyster and move to using bank cards or smartphones which then it will be much easier to link to two and track everyone – or maybe not – it seems Boris and TFL disagree here? Although as MayorWatch point out, TFL aren’t exactly the model of transparency, probably partly why the unions don’t trust them anymore.

It’s also laughable that TFL and Boris are moaning that only 30% of the unions voted for the strike, and the rest didn’t vote…when in their consultation about the cashless buses 37,000 people responded and what do you know, only a third supported the cashless bus…and they’re still going ahead with it. Democracy in action! Oh and Boris Johnson promised not to close the ticket offices when he was elected…so the buffoon is lying, again. And paid too much money for his silly failed cable car!

The funny thing is he opposed Ken Livingstone’s 2008 policy to close 40 (then 38) ticket offices with particularly low ticket sales. That I’m less opposed to – reducing ticket staffing at stations in outer zones who hardly see any ticket sales in a day might be a good idea, especially if it can fund late night services. So Boris got elected on a pledge to not to close ANY stations – then denied it was going to happen for years. But closing ALL ticket offices? Including the busiest central stations, who regularly get very confused or lost tourists, people who have never used the system before? That’s crazy.

This is just the start, as the video points out, these ticket office closures and staffing changes will affect everyone who uses the system. So this is why I won’t be crossing the picket line this and next week and will be using other services. It’s worth a bit of disruption to protect the future of the Underground, and interesting how many of the people I know online agree.

And don’t get me started on the closure of 10 fire stations in London – like staffing cuts on the Underground, lives WILL be in danger because of that. Remember when he passes the hat around in 2016 to try and get re-elected – if he doesn’t fuck off to try and lead the Tories, that is.

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