CLOSING PLANS: A ticket office at Canary Wharf Underground station (PA)
HUNDREDS OF jobs are to be axed in the London Underground as authorities plan to shut down every single ticket office by 2015.
The move will mean about 750 jobs are to be lost, while other employees for Transport for London (TfL) will have their roles changed to have greater interaction with passengers by being present on platforms to help.
The changes will also allow the Tube to be operational 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays on selected lines, according to TfL.
The plans have been strongly criticised by the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT), which said it was a “lethal programme of cuts”.
TfL is drawing up the plans in line with a total budget reduction of about £78m for the financial years of 2013 and 2014.
Included in the makeover of the Underground will be special information points at six busy central London stations staffed by workers to help tourists.
TfL said the plans will see disabled access rolled out to an additional 27 stations, more new trains and updates for stations, contactless card payment facilities and wi-fi coverage at every station below surface.
The consultations will now be open for a 90-day consultation process.
Underground boss Mike Brown said: “All Tube stations will continue to be staffed and controlled in future, with more staff visible and available to customers.
“This will not just boost jobs and our vibrant night-time economy, it will further cement London's reputation as the best big city on the planet.”
RMT said it will “fight these plans with every tool at our disposal and that includes political, public and industrial campaigning on an unprecedented scale”.
TfL said it will not impose compulsory redundancies and promised a job to every employee who is willing to be “ready and flexible”.
News of the ticket office closures comes on the same day as it was revealed that only four people are regularly using the £60m cable car in east London across the River Thames.
The Scoop website obtained figures under the Freedom of Information Act that showed four Oyster Card users travelled on the route more than five times in one week.
The cable cars, which operate between Greenwich and the Royal Docks were opened in 2012, but TfL claims about 3.1 million people have used the route since it became operational.
Danny Price, TfL’s head of the Emirates Air Line (cable cars), said: “We are seeing people use the [route] throughout the day to get to and from work, leisure activities in the area and just for the experience.
“The Emirates Air Line continues to cover its operating costs while encouraging people to visit Greenwich and the Royal Docks.”