Boris broke his promises, so can we really blame the RMT for striking?

Is it any wonder that the RMT is striking when the majority of Londoners don't want ticket offices closed?

Is it any wonder that the RMT is striking when the majority of Londoners don’t want ticket offices closed? asks Jenny Jones

Can we really blame the RMT?

This week I heard Boris blame infighting in the RMT as the reason for the strike that is making London travel so much harder for millions of Londoners and tourists. But he was turning a blind eye to the behaviour of Transport for London (TfL), his own Transport Authority.

Boris has plans to close all London Underground ticket offices. It’s true that the offices are currently used by only 3 per cent of the travelling public, but when you realise that is 100,000 people every day you might start to see that it could prove problematic. Those people will have to use machines, or find help to use them, and for many people, perhaps disabled or old, that can make travelling hard or even impossible.

If we add to this the fact that Boris has twice opposed such ticket office cuts – when the previous Mayor, Ken Livingstone proposed cutting 40 – it’s obvious he has broken his promises to Londoners, including the RMT.

Boris has also presided over annual fare hikes above the rate of inflation every year from 2008 to 2013, averaging a real increase of 11 per cent. So at a time when he is hitting Londoners’ pockets way over inflation, he’s also cutting services such as ticket offices.

Where’s the money going? Some is being misspent on vanity projects such as the New Bus and the cable car. So we have a Mayor who wastes public money and who breaks his promises, such the one about TfL doing a station by station review which might have led to some ticket offices staying open.

Is it any wonder that the RMT is striking? The majority of Londoners don’t want the ticket offices closed. Boris has a real cheek in blaming the RMT – they are fighting for all of us.

Jenny Jones is a member of the London Assembly for the Green Party

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5 Responses to “Boris broke his promises, so can we really blame the RMT for striking?”

  1. Dave C

    Only 3% use ticket offices, not according to TFL’s own figures, they say that it is 23%, quite a difference.

  2. Dave Roberts

    I would say that 3% is about right. When I am in the UK I buy an Oyster card as does just about every other person I saw on the system. I saw the queues at ticket offices and they were almost entire tourists or people visiting the UK for whatever reason. It is right to close these offices and have staff on the concourse and the platforms where they can be of help.

  3. Shinsei1967

    Does that mean 23% of people use the ticket office once every year ?

    And why can’t they just ask one of the members of staff to help them use the ticket machines (which is effectively all that happens when you go to the ticket office anyway).

    What do you actually need the ticket office for that can’t be done by asking a member of staff on the concourse ?

  4. Guest

    I live outside London and on a recent trip I found the ticket office essential. The ticket machines took too long to to work out, a long queue of irate people grew very impatient behind me. How long will there be sufficient staff on the concourse to advise on the use of the machines? The number will soon
    Be cut.

  5. Janine

    Sorry? Tourists and visitors use the ticket offices so they should be shut?! Is that seriously what you are arguing?

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