Two stories in last tonight’s Standard show just how warped Transport for London’s priorities have become.
On the one hand 40 Underground ticket offices are to be shut. This move is apparently designed to increase use of Oyster cards. Make no mistake that although these might be convenient for some, even most, users the reason that TfL is pushing this change is to reduce its costs. TfL says it will not cut station staff but clearly it will be tempted to. Users want the Oyster but they also want a friendly face behind the ticket window, especially if they are from out of town. On the other hand Andrew Gilligan calculates that Bob Kiley, the ex-boss of TfL, will have cost us Â£4 million before he actually shuffles off the stage. This sum is dwarfed by the Â£78 million spent by TfL on advertising in 2005/6.
Given the choice between spending cash on bigging up the Mayor or making life easier for customers TfL chooses protecting the Mayor’s propaganda budget rather than services that customers value.