Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Tory AMs stage walkout over ticket office debate

There were shouts of "disgrace" in City Hall today as Conservative London Assembly Members walked out of a debate about the future of tube ticket offices

The Assembly were due to debate a motion on Boris's planned cuts to ticket office opening hours, when all the present Tory AMs walked out.

Under GLA rules the Chair Dee Doocey was then forced to bring the meeting to a close as less than half of the Assembly were present.

The issue of ticket office closures is what prompted yesterday's tube strike and there were shouts of outrage from those who had come to hear the motion debated.

Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon said after the meeting:

“It is shameful that the London Assembly has today been prevented from debating key issues including the threat to people living in homes owned by the Crown Estates and the planned reduction in opening hours at tube ticket offices. These are bread and butter issues for Londoners and the London Assembly is here to make sure London's voice is heard."

This is the second time that Tory AMs have walked out of an Assembly debate on ticket office closures:

Labour Assembly group leader Len Duvall said today:

"They’re actions are disgraceful and bring the Assembly into disrepute. Londoners elect their Assembly members to represent their interests, not to close down debate when the tough questions come up. Boris Johnson made a clear promise to keep ticket offices open but is now breaking that promise. His Tory colleagues know that this will be deeply unpopular across London so they are running scared.

Former Mayor Ken Livingstone has sought to make Boris's broken promise to defend ticket offices an election issue.

However, his attempts are significantly weakened by the fact that he himself planned to close down ticket offices when he was Mayor.

Of course all of this could have been debated if the Tory AMs had stuck around.

But considering that six of their group didn't even bother to turn up today, then perhaps the actions of the rest are no great surprise.


Anonymous said...

Rather than protest on one side and swing the axe on the other why not see how these ticket office staff might be better employed if their current duties do not generate enough revenue from ticket sales, or justify funding for other tasks undertaken.

Here are a group of people with generally excellent knowledge of the Tube network and its connectios to the wider range of Transport in London. Many may also have a very good handle on the UK's National Rail network. Rather than outsource this to places where many report a lack of competent geographic and horairial knowledge and dependence on the computer screen and its associated GIGO problems, whay not employ the staff as a distributed call centre, fully up to date with how the Tube us running and well able to answer most visitor enquiries for London whilst remaining as a real human presence at the station, which can immediately cope with "input data mismatch" in ways that no software has yet been devised to handle.

AdamB said...

Interesting suggestion.

I've said before that the cuts to ticket offices are probably inevitable given the fact that the govt are making huge cuts to transport and given the fact that most people use Oyster cards now.

Boris was foolish to commit himself to defending ticket offices in the first place and he's been typically brazen about going back on that promise.

All of that said though, the Tories should have stayed to debate it. Their repeated tactic of walking out of difficult debates is childish and does no-one any favours.

Anonymous said...

Another campaign promise broken here is the fact that Boris Johnson promised a Mayoralty with complete Accountability and more importantly " TRANSPARENCY ". All I see and hear is a Mayoralty full of Deceit and lies !