Tube strike: Passengers support cuts, say transport chiefs

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Transport - Canary Wharf Tube Station - 1999

Transport chiefs have claimed that most people support plans to close London Underground ticket offices, as passengers brace themselves for disruption caused by tube strikes over the issue.

A survey of more than 1,000 adults for Transport for London (TfL) showed that 82 per cent supported proposals to move staff out of under-used ticket offices into ticket halls and platforms. Source: PA.

Nine out of 10 backed plans to launch all-night Tube services in the capital next year.

Union leaders disputed the findings and called on London mayor Boris Johnson to hold direct talks with them in an attempt to avert two 48-hour walkouts from next Tuesday and the following Tuesday.

The strikes, by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, threaten travel chaos.

London Underground (LU) managing director Mike Brown said: "In future, we will have more staff visible and available at our stations to help customers buy the right ticket, plan their journeys and to keep them safe and secure.

"All Tube stations will remain staffed and controlled at all times.

"These results show Londoners overwhelmingly back that vision. I call on the leaderships of the RMT and TSSA unions to end their threat to disrupt Londoners with strike action and to work with us to shape the future of a modern Tube for this great city."

Talks aimed at reaching a deal have been held this week, but there is no sign of a breakthrough.

Bob Crow, leader of the RMT, has written to the mayor calling for urgent face-to-face talks.

He said: "With the action looming large next week, it is now time for Boris Johnson to get out of the City Hall bunker and start talking with us directly.

"He masterminded these cuts and it is now up to him to step up and start taking responsibility for the dispute that they have unleashed."

On the new survey, Mr Crow said: "This polling is wholly bogus as the questions don't match the reality of a de-staffed and dangerous Tube network with 1,000 safety-critical jobs axed in the name of austerity leaving the Underground as a deadly, no-go zone for many Londoners.

"Ask people if that's what they want and they give you a resounding no, as previous polling shows overwhelmingly."

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