Fares and Ticketing

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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campaigners at Hackney Downs station

Stop London Overground Ticket Office Closures!

Published on: Wed, 24/10/2018 - 11:32

Following in London Underground's footsteps, London Overground now plans to close nearly all its ticket offices.

Fifty-one are scheduled to close, although the plan has the small matter of a public consultation to navigate first. We know from bitter experience that cuts-driven decision-makers are inclined to ignore consultations, however decisive the public opposition, but it is harder to ignore mobilised opposition. RMT and community activists have been out campaigning against the closures, distributing thousands upon thousands of leaflets and postcards. Labour Parties and Councillors in hard-hit boroughs such as Hackney have spoken out against the plan.

London Underground workers know why this is such a bad idea. We are dealing daily with passengers whom we could help more if we had an open ticket office to refer them to. If they go ahead, these closures will make Underground staff's workload even worse, as passengers arrive from Overground stations having been unable to buy the ticket or get the information or assistance they need.

Support the campaign to keep London Overground ticket offices open!

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Your Money Back?

Published on: Mon, 20/11/2017 - 11:27

LU says too many customers are having too much money refunded to their Oyster cards. LU is now monitoring station staff. It has produced a league table to help management identify whether "the same people" are "always" doing refunds.

What is this meant to prove? That some staff like to help when customers have been over-charged?

It's a slap in the face. LU closes ticket offices and pressures us to do ticket selling duties without proper training, then watches to see if we do the new practises "wrong".

LU is introducing more and more monitoring. It wants us to feel more "managed" and vulnerable. It has created a new layer of stations management for this purpose. We need to resist this culture shift.

Tubeworker topics

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Cash Out

Published on: Tue, 13/06/2017 - 05:10

London Underground has not provided enough training to station staff on how to handle cash from the ticket machines since ticket offices closed.

Money piles up in the machines because too few staff are trained on how to take it out. LU brought in new snazzy Cash Handling Devices (CHD), and barely trained us on them, saying they were "easy to use".

But the CHDs do not eliminate much of the fiddly, responsible work of handling cash that a ticket seller used to do. Someone still needs to empty the CHD if it's full, bag the money and prepare it to be collected by the security company.

In reality every station still needs a trained, qualified ticket seller. Many CSAs are not confident to handle cash with the paltry training they have been given. Quite right too! Why should you carry out work that you're neither properly trained nor paid to do?

London Underground was in such a hurry to close ticket offices, and cut ticket sellers' jobs, that it didn't care how it would cope without them. Why should we take on the responsibility of handling cash just to help LU cope with the aftermath of ticket office closures and job cuts?

Tubeworker topics

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Luco Loco at Oxo

Published on: Wed, 31/05/2017 - 17:22

A rather dystopian, if garishly-coloured, vision of TfL/LU's corporate, semi-privatised future at Oxford Circus today, as wealthy sugar merchants Lucozade ran a promotion offering free bottles with a contactless chip worth one free Tube journey embedded in the bottom.

It has long been an ambition of LU bosses, and some politicians, to boost private sector involvement in the Tube — from selling off former ticket office space to retailers like Amazon, Tesco, and Argos, to flirting with procuring corporate sponsorship for station names ("Lucozade Oxford Circus", anyone?).

The promotion was a real boon to many travellers, for whom a free train ride is not to be sniffed at. It's just unfortunate that it came attached to the corporate fizz.

We say: yes to free travel, no to corporate involvement in the railway. With a belt-tightening exercise in the upper echelons of LU apparently underway, maybe some of the money saved by cutting back on overpaid senior bosses could go towards reducing fares.

Tubeworker topics

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