A FREEDOM OF Information request from BBC London has uncovered figures which show that London Underground (LU) is responsible for 360 station closures in 2016 – that’s just under one a day throughout the year.
LU bosses are quick to complain if strikes cause station closures. They call the unions heartless and condemn their lack of concern for passengers. It is inconvenient to passengers when stations are closed – even though we know that strikes occur most often in defence of important issues such as passenger safety. It will shock passengers to learn that LU is itself responsible for so many station closures, just because of poor management.
The station which came top of the Closure Leader Board was Temple – with 25 closures totalling 57 hours in 2016. Also high on the list were Canary Wharf which closed on 17 occasions because there were not enough staff present to meet basic safety requirements – the same number of closures as at Holland Park.
The LU station closures are blamed on staff shortages. LU has responded to the staff shortages by – decreasing the number of staff. During 2016, the number of station workers on the Tube fell by 777 – that’s 13%.
The staff reductions follow a decision taken by Transport for London (TfL) in 2013, when TfL decided to cut 750 jobs across its operations at the request of then Mayor of London Boris Johnson. At the time, trade unions took strike action to warn that staff losses on this scale would lead to problems operating the Tube Network. LU denied this would be the case – but they have now agreed to recruit 325 extra staff this year. It turns out, then, that the trade unions were right all along. Perhaps they should be running the network.