Cuts of staffing in TfL Stations

MQT on 2015-10-21
Session date: 
October 21, 2015
Question By: 
Valerie Shawcross
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Has the increase in fare evasion undermined your case to cut staff at TfL operated stations?


Answer for Cuts of staffing in TfL Stations

Answer for Cuts of staffing in TfL Stations

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Thank you, Val.  You speak of an increase in fare evasion and that is not in fact the case.  As you may know, on the bus network fare evasion was 3.5%.  Listen to this.  The bus fare evasion was 3.5% in the era of the bendy-bus.  It is now down to 1.1%.

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Chair, if I may, the question is specifically about the Tube network.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  On the Tube, if I may ‑‑

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  The Mayor is answering a question on the bus.  Can I have 30 seconds back?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ the figure that you have quoted is not accurate since it refers to the figures before the penalty fares and the revenue collected at gates is taken into account.  Fare evasion is running at about 2% across the network.  Obviously we want to see continued reductions in fare evasion, but I am very pleased to say that crime is now at its lowest ever level on the Tube.  It is down on the buses by 48%, it is down on the Tube by 42% and it is the safest tube network in Europe. 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  The fact is that if you look at TfL figures, although the other modes are doing quite well in reducing fare evasion, as you say, fare evasion on the Tube cost about £20 million in 2010/11 according to TfL’s own figures and according to TfL’s own figures it is now up to £61 million on the Tube.  Therefore, there has been something like a 200% increase in fare evasion in the Tube while there has been an increase of only about 30% in passengers.  If you ‑‑

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  You say only an increase of 30% in passengers?  I would not use the word ‘only’.

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  I have not finished my question, Mr Mayor.  I appreciate that your tactic with me is always to try to waste my time, but Londoners will want to know if you are going through a staffing cuts programme, as you are, which is cutting 950 staff out of our Underground stations and has massively increased the number of Tube stations with only one member of staff on them to 125 stations.  That is to save £50 million.

Why are you doing so little to address this issue of £61 million being lost on the network?  The figures we have show that there were a lot of stations where the gate lines had been left open because of a lack of staffing.  There were a number of stations where over 50% of the time the gate line was left open.  Do you not think you need to review the staffing levels?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  No.  We have increased the staffing levels across the network, the visible staffing.  There is now a 30% increase in the number of staff visible and available to help across the network.  Just to get these figures about evasion across, the latest information is that the net revenue loss for February 2015 was 1.34% of revenue and that compares to 1.27% of revenue in May 2008.  It is basically flat ‑‑

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Mr Mayor, the only figures we have ‑‑

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ at a time of massive increase in both customer numbers and revenue.

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Mr Mayor, any figures we throw at you we always source from TfL.  Londoners will tell you that the stations in outer London in particular very often have gate lines left open and that is something from people’s experience.  All I am asking you to do is to review the Fit for the Future programme and see if you have the right number of staff in stations.

Just quickly, Mr Mayor, the proposal that is now working through to put visitor centres giving information and ticket facilities in major stations in London was quite welcome.  However, it is not clear to me why you have left out London Bridge and Waterloo, which is London’s busiest station, as well as places like Charing Cross and Stratford.  Why will you not review the Fit for the Future programme to see if it is actually fit for function?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  OK.  Look, on the gate lines thing, I saw your press release and I am concerned that people should not just be wandering through.  I have given you the figures for the revenue losses that we have.  I will have a word with London Underground (LU) about station gates being left open. 

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  How about a review?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  We are seeing huge increases in ridership at a time when people are increasingly using contactless payment systems.  We are now running the biggest cashless payment system anywhere in the world in TfL.  It is an incredible triumph.  People are using their bank cards and I think they can now use their mobile phones as well.  It is a huge step forward and technology has allowed this to happen.  Technology has liberated lots of staff from ‑‑

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  From their jobs.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  ‑‑ behind the plate glass.  Indeed, yes.  Absolutely, it has liberated them.  You put it in a sarcastic way, but that is true.  It has made it possible for people to stop doing jobs that were not suitable for a 21st-century Tube network and to find employment helping the customers, helping the passengers on the platforms and doing other things.  That is the way forward for our Tube.

Valerie Shawcross CBE AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I just want to say one more conciliatory thing to Val, which is that you asked about the tourist information centres at the big stations.  I will look into that.  I cannot give you the answer now but I will find out what we are doing at London Bridge and those other ones you mentioned.