C10 passengers revolt

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Wednesday 5 February 2014 9.37pm
At 5.15 pm today I was on the second leg of a bus journey home on a C10, when an interesting event occurred. I'd queued at Victoria for a long time. When I reached the stop no C10 arrival was even listed on the electronic sign for the first 10 minutes. It seems several C10s were bunched up at another stage of the route.

Soon after the packed-to-bursting bus crossed the river, the driver announced the vehicle would turn round at the Elephant & Castle. There were quite a number of Rotherhithe residents on the bus. One lady said she would refuse to get off at the Elephant, adding the bus company would have to call the police to remove her. She explained she'd already waited an hour at Victoria. If Abelio wanted to turf her out short of her destination, how long would she have to wait for another C10 with any space?

Within seconds other passengers voiced their support. Several said when they'd touched their Oyster cards the front of the bus said 'Canada Water', so that's where it should go, rather than returning to Victoria prematurely. One man who spoke several times emphasised it wasn't a personal attack on the driver, who was simply relaying an instruction from his management at the office.

It was noticeable during all this how no-one made a negative comment about the tube strike. The only time the dispute was mentioned, people said if tube staff can strike, so could bus passengers!

When the bus arrived at the E & C the driver turned a short distance round the corner, and pulled in near Eileen House. The bus then stood with the engine running while the driver left his cab to ring the office. The handful of people who got off were those whose journeys were complete.

I was only two stops from home. Having got up early this morning and had bus journeys and waits totalling almost 2-and-a-half hours to reach work, I wanted to get home and go to bed, with a view to leaving home earlier tomorrow. I explained to the other passengers I was torn for this reason - and would've preferred to stay, show support and see what happened. People laughed. As I got off I said I'd post news of the protest on social media, and gave a couple of people my mobile number, to stay in touch.

When I reached Harper Road I received a text saying the bus company had given in, and the C10 was continuing its journey to Canada Water.

I tweeted a report of the protest (and it wasn't easy squeezing the facts of the story into 140 characters - see @lionelwright_ ) There are many interesting tweets on the strike, including a brilliant poster from underground workers describing the future for tube passengers if the cuts go through - see @sunny_hundal - and a public opinion survey which shows 65% of respondents in support of the union campaign to keep ticket offices open - see @RMTLondon

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Wednesday 5 February 2014 10.01pm
Nice! I love these kind of rare discussions on the bus.

I was on a bus this morning and heard that annoying recording suddenly - 'The destination of this bus has changed'. It stopped at the next stop and everyone was turfed off, nowhere near the advertised final destination. Happens all the time.
Wednesday 5 February 2014 10.11pm
This is a fantastic story. I loved reading it, it shows the true spirit of Londoners.

I'm glad you also appear to have made some new friends as well.

I'm glad people are supporting the strike, you see I am one of the striking tube workers.

We don't want to strike, but for years the tube has suffered from under investment.

The Govt. is now investing in upgrades, but what it's giving with one hand it's taking back with the other.

The Mayor is spending money on 'vanity projects' whilst siphoning money from the Underground.

Londoners pay the highest fares in Europe, I believe it's 4.50 for a single fare in zone 1. In my opinion it should be 1.50 maximum!

This strike is not about money, it's about a safe, reliable & fully staffed tube!

Imagine being a tube worker, working alone in an outlying station and trying to deal with an emergency, or drunks, or threats of assault with no backup from other staff. This is what the future holds, and imagine if that lone member of staff was a female! I don't even want to think about what could happen.

Boris Johnson is endangering the safety of staff & the travelling public, and this is only the beginning.

These cuts represent only 6% of the total they have been told to save by 2021!

There are other ways to make savings, such as bringing things back in house, such as staff canteens, engineering etc. London Underground wastes millions of tax payers money every year.

Enough is Enough
Zoe
Wednesday 5 February 2014 10.24pm
Great tale Lionel.
Wednesday 5 February 2014 11.00pm
The easiest way for the public to show that they wish for the ticket offices to stay open is to eschew the automatic card machines and shops that top-up Oyster cards and instead queue up at the tube ticket offices to put money on their card. The problem is of course that most people will not do this. When the champion of the workers, Ken Livingston introduced the Oyster card I am sure that he was unaware that it would eventually sound the death knell for ticket offices. Now that you can top up cards everywhere, use your credit card and soon even your phone to pay for a tube journey, the closure of ticket offices is inevitable. That being said I believe that all stations should be suitably staffed, but a lot of the new jobs should be along the lines of a security guard rather than a traditional London Underground staff member. Next up, driverless trains.
Wednesday 5 February 2014 11.24pm
One of the problems of contactless payment with a credit card, is that if you happen to have both an oyster card and contactless card in your wallet, they could both be debited when you touch them on the readers!
Thursday 6 February 2014 7.37am
Pieces of Eight wrote:
The easiest way for the public to show that they wish for the ticket offices to stay open is to eschew the automatic card machines and shops that top-up Oyster cards and instead queue up at the tube ticket offices to put money on their card. The problem is of course that most people will not do this. When the champion of the workers, Ken Livingston introduced the Oyster card I am sure that he was unaware that it would eventually sound the death knell for ticket offices. Now that you can top up cards everywhere, use your credit card and soon even your phone to pay for a tube journey, the closure of ticket offices is inevitable. That being said I believe that all stations should be suitably staffed, but a lot of the new jobs should be along the lines of a security guard rather than a traditional London Underground staff member. Next up, driverless trains.

I agree stations, and trains, should be suitably staffed - but if the technology is available to save money alongside this, it should be utilised. I'd rather the money went towards improving capacity and reliability of the service - getting people across London to other jobs perhaps.

The fact is, it is quicker in many cases to top up at a machine, or online. It reduces queues and keeps people moving. Much like self service check-outs in supermarkets (wich I know many hate) - you can have one or two staff members looking after a dozen customers, rather than one-on-one.

The focus should be on introducing more machines, and having the same number (or slightly fewer) staff overseeing all of them and being on hand to help where needed, as I'm sure 95% of 'machine based' transactions are trouble-free.
Zoe
Thursday 6 February 2014 8.09am
The queues for the machines are massive, there are things you can't do or are hard to do on them and often they are faulty. It's alright saying use the machines but the reality of the machines are very different. I recall my inability to buy the weekly pass I wanted while staying with a friend and having to wait for the ticket office to open. When I asked he told me that I should be able to buy the ticket on a machine but it was a glitch that was just never fixed.

I also would not use a station that isn't staffed, which would really cut my ability to travel.

I find myself speaking to the staff much more often than I intend to, and I'm fairly tech savvy. The underinvestment in the technology will mean we just have a worse service......and prices will still go up 5% every year.
Thursday 6 February 2014 9.37am
I was on the same very packed bus-could not beleive it when on Lambeth Bridge the radio controller told the driver to change to E&C -everyone realised if they got off at the Elephant they would not be able to get on another bus there and would be stranded-i was going to Long Lane so walked but well done to all the passengers tha stood by their guns-i hope i am on their bus tonight as well!!
Thursday 6 February 2014 10.53am
Andy Ross wrote:
One of the problems of contactless payment with a credit card, is that if you happen to have both an oyster card and contactless card in your wallet, they could both be debited when you touch them on the readers!

Not true. I have both in my wallet, and the readers only let me through when I've separated the cards so that only one is charged.
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