Fares and Ticketing

Power down the POMs!

Published on: Tue, 24/03/2020 - 13:05

An Employee Bulletin dated 23 March, from Brian Woodhead (the senior director for LU stations, he of 74% pay rise fame...) gives some "advice on social distancing in our stations."

This advice includes: "Avoid signing into the POM [Passenger Operated Machine, i.e., ticket machine] yourself."

Since the start of the crisis, unions have demanded POMs be switched off. Having either staff or passengers using a touch screen risks spreading the virus. There is no good reason for the POMs to remain on. If senior management is now telling station staff we should "avoid" touching them anyway, why not just switch them off?

If LU won't act, frontline staff on stations will need to take action ourselves.

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Overground Ticket Offices Hours to be Cut

Published on: Mon, 20/01/2020 - 12:40

A strong campaign by RMT and local Labour Parties made London Overground drop its plans to close nearly all of its ticket offices. But the company now plans to go ahead with cutting their opening hours, despite objections.

But it's not a done deal yet, so our campaign goes on. Stations left with a ticket office for just two-and-a-half hours a day can not provide the serivde that passengers need and are doubless a step on the road to full closure. And of course, it's not just services that are threatened - it is jobs.

The cuts will also have a knock-on effect on London Underground stations, which will have to deal with people arriving from LO stations without tickets or with the wrong ticket - and we don't have ticket offices available to help them either!

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Bah Humbug!

Published on: Wed, 01/01/2020 - 14:36

Robbers helped themselves to some Christmas cash in two break-ins on 25 December. At Waterloo and Seven Sisters, staff booked on for Boxing Day to find that the ticket offices were not as secure as we would like to think.

As the culprits are chased down, beware of management trying to apportion some blame to station staff for not emptying the machines on Christmas Eve. They should remember that if you want the job done properly, then you have to employ and train enough staff to do it.

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Defend RCI jobs!

Published on: Wed, 13/11/2019 - 11:44

Unions have long been pressing LU to fill the vacancies in the revenue department, which have gone unfilled for over a decade. The point has also been made that there may be some connection between the £90 million the company says it loses in lost revenue and the fact that it has deliberately understaffed the revenue department.

Recent spikes in workplace violence have brought the issue to a head, with many workers arguing that an increase in RCI numbers would improve workplace safety.

LU has finally made a long-awaited announcement about a potential restructure in revenue; rather than filling the vacancies, it plans to effectively scrap RCI jobs by shipping in secondees from other grades on worse terms and conditions than existing RCIs.

This is yet another attack on stations, which demonstrates our bosses' lackadaisical attitude to our safety.

While Tubeworker would ultimately like to see a free public transport system, funded by taxing the rich, until we get there, revenue collection will be necessary, and properly trained and licensed LU RCIs are an infinitely better option for improving workplace safety than relying on the BTP or, worse, private security guards.

Plans are already afoot for an industrial response, and the issue certainly needs to be taken up as part of any developing dispute over station staffing and workplace safety.

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Cash for Access?

Published on: Mon, 01/07/2019 - 08:57

It's lovely to see the sparkling new improved westbound access ramp at South Woodford station. We are all in favour of improved access for mobility-impared people and people encumbered with luggage or buggies.

Shame that in its wisdom, LUL has installed BANK CARD ONLY ticket machines in the new entrance, forcing any mobility-impared people to have to make an arduous trip via a deep subway over to the eastbound booking hall and back again if they want or need to pay with cash. This assumes of course that the machines on the eastbound are actually in working order.

It seems that once again, efficient extraction of money is a higher priority for the company than accessibility.

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Ballot for Billing!

Published on: Fri, 22/03/2019 - 18:45

Station staff at Heathrow are gearing up to defend Harvinder Billing, a colleague sacked after two ticket office discrepancies.

Anyone who works in a ticket office knows how unreliable LU’s machines can be. We can’t stand by and watch our colleagues sacked for human error on an unreliable system on which we’re not properly trained.

It’s good to see Harvinder’s colleagues rally round.

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Bring the Jobs Fights Together!

Published on: Fri, 08/02/2019 - 14:40

Many grades in many locations are suffering under the destaffing over recent years, or are facing imminent cuts to jobs.

The unions - primarily RMT - are fighting back on several fronts. RMT has scored some successes, including on Bakerloo South stations groups and the cleaning contractor, ABM.

Now, more stations groups are going into action, and the union is gearing up for battles against a 2009 agreement on trains that restricts depot staffing levels, and threatened cuts to train prep.

Moreover, other issues under dispute - for example, the ludicrous red tabards, or unacceptable rosters or ticketing problems - are rooted in staff shortages.

Our fightback will be stronger if we fight the roots cause rather than just the symptoms. The more we can bring these disparate disputes together, the better.

This might be easier said than done, particularly since the imposition of difficult-to-reach ballot thresholds by the 2016 Trade Union Act, but with the will and the effort, it can be done. And even if we don't feel ready to call everyone out on strike yet, we can synchronise ballots and actions in different areas.

Moreover, the root cause has a root cause too, as under-staffing is the result of under-funding. Tubeworker would like to see our unions campaign more stridently against the government's cut to TfL's funding and TfL's failure to fight that cut.

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POM Problems

Published on: Sat, 26/01/2019 - 14:30

Station staff across the job are facing discipline, and even the sack, for minor ticket office discrepancies.

We’re rapidly losing faith in the technology we’re working with, and in LU’s ability to train us on it.

If you don’t feel confident, insist on further training.

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Ticketing Troubles

Published on: Tue, 18/12/2018 - 09:38

Arnos Grove station staff are shocked and angry that management have suspended a workmate for a minor ticket office discrepancy. The staff member concerned has more than fifteen years on the job and six years doing ticket office duties without any problems, and yet the company has thrown the book at him over a shortfall that may not even be his fault.

Staff are now reluctant to enter the ticket office / POM suite in case they find themselves accused. And they are asking RMT to prepare industrial action ballots both to protect the integrity of ticket office procedures and to stop the disciplinary action against their colleague. They know very well that an injury to one is an injury to all.

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Further adventures with Code 36

Published on: Sun, 02/12/2018 - 16:12

Management appear to have accepted that stopping passengers leaving the station with a code 36 until staff intervene is not working. Gates at 15 stations have been modified to have a lower exit threshold, meaning someone with “insufficient PAYG” can exit. If this trial is successful it will be made standard.

Staff have now been told to assist customers on their way in to resolve previous journeys. But hang on... Tubeworker knows that previously passengers have been told to ring the Oyster helpline, sometimes in all cases, other times if the journey was more than 24 hours ago. So can staff now resolve older journeys? Are they going to let us do more than one? Will we be hauled in for doing “too many” resolutions?

Alternatively they could always put a system in place of a staffed office with teams dedicated to assisting customers with their tickets…

Tubeworker topics

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