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Goldsmiths' Official Student Magazine

Facebook Politics: TFL Job Cuts and 24 Hour Weekends

November 26, 2013
Writer_Naki Ossom As we saw during the Arab Spring, social media sites can have an important role in the contemporary political landscape. It is becoming increasingly common for people to voice their political views on Facebook, usually resulting in a heated debate in the comments. Why not get these comments and debates out there? Unedited,…

Writer_Naki Ossom

  • As we saw during the Arab Spring, social media sites can have an important role in the contemporary political landscape. It is becoming increasingly common for people to voice their political views on Facebook, usually resulting in a heated debate in the comments. Why not get these comments and debates out there? Unedited, uncut – straight from the horses’ mouth. 

The recent decisions made within TFL to run tubes at nights on some lines and to close ticket offices, resulting in 750 jobs being lost, unsurprisingly sparked an online frenzy on our feeds. Naki Ossom felt particularly strongly about this issue. And sNaki articleo on 21st November she posted this Facebook status:

And so she explained….

I imagine there will be a lot of frustration with a completely automated ticketing system. I don’t understand the point of removing the workers from the ticket office and just putting them in the station itself to help the passengers if that’s what they were doing in the first place. Somehow I think this might fuck over some of the workers as well. 950 jobs in total are being cut but how many are being created for this “in station help”? They say about 200, but how true is this? They mention “special customer points” but that’s only in 6 major tube stations in central London to help tourists. So how long before these positions become redundant because there are already people in the stations to help tourists with questions? London is a big city, will there be enough staff to deal with potential emergency situations at busy stations during peak hours? They also say that anyone who wants a job and who is “ready to be flexible” will have one, wtf does that mean?

If they’re making the tube 24h, I assume this will require more trains and more staff which sounds quite expensive with all the extra train driver training, the extra equipment etc. which doesn’t compute well in my brain with the £78 million budget cut across 2013 and 2014 that they say they’ve experienced. Unless they plan on covering for this by increasing the fares, which they’ve been doing anyway every year for years yet, they are still reporting losses and budget cuts. And if that’s the case how big will the fare increase be, and how will that improve the services? What does the 24h mean? How often will the trains be running? Knowing TfL, I’m sure it won’t be the same every 3-5 minutes like during the day (meaning more trains and more money) and will most likely run like the already unreliable night buses every 30 to 40 minutes. Night time safety is also an issue, not only with the number of drunk people that might be taking the train increasing falls onto the tracks and further disruptions etc. Currently, every weekend on Fridays and Saturdays there are engineering works that disrupt everyone’s travels. Note that they’re proposing 24h for Friday and Saturday nights. How is this going to work? Unless they play on having done all their works by 2015, which let’s face it, it’s TfL –  it’s not going to be done.

Then there’s the increase in costs for Wi-Fi in all underground stations (which is misleading in itself because it’s Virgin and not everyone can access it from stories I’ve heard) and the introduction of contactless payments.

This all sounds good at first glance, but I’m not sure how this is going to improve anything, especially the TfL service in general. Bearing in mind that this might lead to a strike action or something from the RMT and other unions.

But let’s see how this goes.