When the revolting RMT union last had a long strike in September 2007 I pointed out that all those hours of extended journeys was the equivalent amount of wasted life as would occur if Bob Crowe went outside with a machine gun and shot down 60 people. You may think that this is a bit strong but most of us think that an extra hour in the car, waiting at a bus stop, dodging in and out of traffic on a bike is a waste of life compared to say hanging out in the park with the baby, taking a long bath, having a pint with a mate – I could go on.
I have pulled out five year’s worth of figures from TfL’s annual reports, see below (click to enlarge):
In the last five years taxpayers – you and me, have subsidised the Tube’s running costs to the tune of Â£2.26 billion. That is running costs, ie revenue. This eye watering sum does not even include the capital cost of the Tube system. Bob Crow and his members think that Â£4 Tube fares, Â£40K staff salaries and operating losses of Â£500 million in a recession is a good position from which to ask the public for more. The answer has to be no.
The Tube system’s appalling finances have improved over the last five years but they are likely to go backwards as soon as the recession pushes passenger numbers down again. Note the latest figures available are for 2007/8. The figures for the year just ended will show some deterioration.
By TfL’s own reckoning in 2007/8, which includes their last stupid strike, they only managed to deliver their timetable 94.8% of the time. In other words 1 in every 20 trains they should have operated failed to run.
Industrial action on the Tube needs to be outlawed as the price for the public’s continuing tolerance of this massive public subsidy.