Friday, December 30, 2005

Strike action still on!!

At the present time, and to the best of my knowledge, the planned strike for NYE is still on.

The strike is due to commence at 12 noon tomorrow until 12 noon on New Years Day, what this means is that any staff due to book on BEFORE 12 noon on NYE should still book on as normal, and finish their duty at the rostered time. Any staff due to start work AFTER 12 noon are being advised by the RMT NOT to book on. Also on New Years Day, any staff who start work BEFORE 12 noon are advised NOT to book on, and any staff starting work AFTER 12 noon on New Years Day should book on as normal.

I suspect a few depots may have a picket line to persuade train ops NOT to cross the picket line in support of their comrades, even though the train ops are not involved in this particular dispute.

What really adds insult to injury though, is that according to my trade union rep. BC is currently on holiday in Egypt (schmuck!!!!)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Strike called for on New Years Eve

The RMT have announced strike action to take place from 12 noon on NYE until 12 noon on NYD. (link) In the ballot for strike action, there were 1,327 votes (84.6 per cent) in favour and 241 (15.4 per cent) against. In the ballot for action short of strike, there were 1,435 (91.8 per cent) votes in favour and 129 (8.2 per cent) against. I personally wasn't even ballotted but from the numbers above, it seems not even half of the station staff even voted (or received a ballot paper)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

3 weeks of freedom

Just got back from escorting the Mrs. to Heathrow who should be about now boarding her plane to go and visit some of her relatives in Africa.

Whilst the idea of 3 weeks alone, sounds good, I'm already missing her. I suppose after 11 years of marriage, it feels really weird to have the house to myself for such a long time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Nothing happening

Haven't blogged for a while mainly because nothing of interest has happened, and also because I've been feeling a bit lousy with flu-like symptons and stuff.

One of our regular VIP's (Visually Impaired Persons) who we assist to & from trains on an almost daily basis was considerate enough to bring all the staff a tin of chocolates to express his gratitude for our help throughout the year. Although I don't celebrate Xmas as I am not a Christian I thought it was a really nice gesture and thought.

I will be working as usual over the holiday period, although for once I am not doing late turns or nights so I shouldn't have to deal with all the drunks, even though we did have one drunk start a fight with one of our station tenants today.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Useless USB gadgets

How about a USB powered fondue set, or a lovely pair of USB slippers (?), a USB drink warmer (just the type of thing you want near an electrical appliance). Perhaps a USB ashtray is more to your liking, or a USB noodle strainer, USB gloves & Eye massager/poker. The list is endless.

Friday, November 18, 2005

All quiet on the western front

Only had about 30 contractors to deal with last night, fairly quiet compared to most nights.


I normally get about one email a week purporting to be from various financial institutions, paypal, ebay etc. On a good week, I get about 4.

My latest one is supposed to be from Barclays (I don't even bank with them)

Barclays Bank Membership Update

We recently reviewed your account, and we suspect an unauthorized ATM - based transactions on your account. Our banking service will help you to avoid frequently fraud transactions and to keep your savings and investments confidential.

To ensure that your account is not compromised please login to Barclays Bank Online Banking by clicking this link, verify and update your profile and your current account will be 128-bit encrypted and guard by our security system.

- Log-in on:,,logon,00.html
- Enter your personal membership details
- Verify and update with Barclays IBank

Thank you for using Barclays BankSecurity Check

Important information from Barclays Bank(R)

This e-mail contains information directly related to your account with us, other
services to which you have subscribed, and/or any application you may have submitted. Barclays Bank and its service providers are committed to protecting your privacy and ask you not to send sensitive account information through e-mail. You can view our privacy policy and contact information at If you are not a Barclays Bank customer and you believe you received this message in error, please delete this e-mail.

© 2005 Barclays Bank Global

At least they have improved the spelling from the earlier attempts. Interesting that they haven't yet learnt to mask their message ID's yet. This particular email comes from Russia (obviously Barclays new HQ) ( If anyone is feeling nasty send them some spam lol.

I do wonder if people still fall for these blatant attempts at fraud nowadays.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Just a rememinder that the first episode of the tube programme is starting tonight. Should be interesting as I know at least one of the people featured. I think it is also going to be repeated on sky travel.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I give up.

I don't think I will ever understand customers. Last week I had to assist a very irate customer who had a debit on her Oystercard. As the fault of the debit laid with both the customer for not getting an extension on her Oystercard and still touching in & out with it, and Wimbledon station for not doing so either; I wasn't able to speak to Wimbledon station staff as it is run by national rail.
I was then asked to come to the ticket office as the customer was refusing to leave the window thereby causing a long queue and inconveniencing other customers. I had to keep her waiting about 10 minutes as I was already dealing with another customer.
Rather than asking her to pay back the debit owed and apply for a refund, I instructed the ticket office staff to cancel the last pre-pay which would then bring her pre-pay balance back to zero and then her travelcard would work again. The ticket office could have just done from the beginning and saved everybody the hassle, but her attitude wasn't condusive. Eventually she went off and we even shared a joke about it as she left. This morning I get called to see the DSM.
I was extremely annoyed and angry to get called to the managers office because this person wrote a letter of complaint about me, said I was very unhelpful, rude and I needed retraining.

In my nine years since joining LUL I have never had a complaint, rather I have had numerous letters of thanks from customers. (well a few)

I think next time I'll just give then the generic card with the customer services details on it and leave them to it.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Other metro prices

Japan (7 day travelcard) for the whole country: £140.80
Paris (7 day travelcard) £10.64
Madrid (single ticket) £0.88
Cairo (single ticket) £0.075p
New York (7 day travelcard) £13.70
Mexico City (single ticket) £0.10
Singapore (single ticket maximum price) £0.65
Bangkok (flat rate single) £0.14p
Newcastle (7 day all zones) £16.00

2006 fare increases announced

The new proposed fare increases for next year have been announced by Ken, and to be quite frank I think they are a bloody extorniate rip-off.

Some of the highlights of the announcements:

The Tube Zone 1 Oyster fare down from £1.70 to £1.50 and as the equivalent cash fare will be £3, this will be a saving of £1.50.

A single journey in Zones 2-6 will cost £1 on Oyster if you pay as you go, compared to £3 if you use cash

Outside Zone 1, the cheapest cash single fare will increase to £3 from £1.30 but the comparable Oyster fare will be reduced from £1.10 to £1

The Family Travelcard will be withdrawn but a £1 Off-peak Child Travelcard will be available for up to four under 16s accompanied by adult Travelcard holders.

Its going to be the casual users, families & tourists who are going to be hit the worst by these price increases. They already got rid of the VERY POPULAR weekend travelcard (even now, we still get tourists asking for them), now they are scrapping the family travelcard. Whereas now a single parent & four sprogs can travel in central London at the weekend for £3.10 that option will no longer be available to them. I expect loads of people to complain and take it out on the station staff as usually happens every January.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Tourists are lovely

My favourite kind of commuters are definitely tourists. The majority of the time, they are friendly, polite and generally nice folk, especially Japanese tourists.

Fortunately I can reasonably converse in Japanese, giving directions, selling tickets etc so I try to help them where I can. I was helping one old Japanese couple almost everyday last week, with directions, tourist attractions etc. On their very last day, they came to the station and brought a box of Japanese coffee sweets as a token of thanks. Really cheered me up. A few months ago, another Japanese family gave me a box of Pocky which realy are to die for. Luckily there is one shop in West Acton that sells them. Not likely to get that from a regular commuter though :)

Last trains/first trains

It still surprises me the sheer number of people who turn up way after their trains have departed. I mean how long does it take to check the last train times (every station has at least 3 posters) before they head back home. I was closing my station the other night and one bloke came dashing down the platform stairs. I informed him that the last trains had already departed, then this guy pulls out his staff pass and shouts "But I'm staff". Sorry mate, but what the bloody difference does that make, are we supposed to magically produce a train just because he's a member of LUL staff.

Also in a similar vein, if you are relying upon public transport to get you to a certain place at a certain time, wouldn't it be prudent to check the train times. Every morning we get droves of people lugging their suitcases in order to get to Heathrow for a flight that boards at 06:00am for example. The first train for Heathrow airport doesn't leave central London until around 05:40 ish. There isn't a cat in hells chance they'll get there in time, especially when it going to take at least an hour to check in with the airlines.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


Remember that from the 25th September (tomorrow) all adult weekly travelcards will all be issued on Oystercard stock. No more magnetic tickets. So all those naughty people buying zones 2&3 for example and then travelling through zone 1 won't be able to do that anymore.

I imagine we are going to have loads of angry/annoyed customers when they found out they will have to pay the correct fares for their journeys.

It's been a while.

Haven't really made any blog entries for quite some time. I work on a group of stations, rather than being rostered at one particular station like my colleague. The problem with this is the uncertainty as to where I am working at what shift pattern. For some unknown reason I have been given a large amount of night-shift duties approximately every week and a half I have been working nights. I am alas working nights this week also until Tuesday:(

Not much has been happening at work though, its been a pretty uneventful month or so.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Contents of my travelcard wallet

Anne Marie Maningas from her blog version 3.1 seems to have started a trend. Next up came Annie Mole and maybe a few more. Anyway here are the contents of my travel card wallet (bought at Muji a while back): Contents
1) Free cinema vouchers courtesy of Tim O'Toole
2) Laminated UTS cards with most of the error codes on
3) UTS card (to allow me to sell tickets)
4) Car Park pass
5) Family railcard
6) Priv. travel card for my daughter
7) Weils disease card (in case I get mugged by rats)
8) Staff Pass & Staff Oyster
9) Subway stamps
10) RMT card & book of stamps
11) Spare name badge & the wallet in question.

As you can see most of the stuff in there is work related in some way or another.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Picc. line back again

More good news today, with the Piccadilly line back up and running. At least for a couple of days before they suspend it again for engineering works.

When the damaged train was brought through from Russel Square, we were told by our managers to make sure the platforms were completely empty of staff, cleaners & contractors. I think to ensure no-one took any pictures to sell to the tabloids. It was quite an eerie feeling though watching the train pass through my station.

Remember to avoid the Picc & District lines this weekend if possible, because of the planned engineering works taking place from Hyde Park - Acton on the Piccadilly line & from Earls Court - Acton & Earls Court - Gunnersbury on the District line.

Letter from Tim O' Toole

Got a nice surpise in the post this morning. A generic thank-you letter from our boss, and a couple of free cinema tickets. Lets hope the cinemas have something worth watching in the not too distant future. Any suggestions are welcome. (I like sci-fi, horror & Japanese films or various genre's)

Friday, July 22, 2005

What is wrong with some people?

I'm on nights this week, and for some reason there seems to be loads of idiots around.

We have a strict one way system in operation at my home station, and if any customers choose to ignore the numerous NO EXIT signs then they are generally sent back the way they came.
I was assisting on the platform last night because we had a few boisterous drunks around and one individual was about to go up the no exit stairway. I informed him and he turned round, gave me a torrent of abuse and said "Next time, I hope you get blown to pieces" I'm not a violent person at all, but I really felt like slapping him. How can someone even say that to another person beggars belief. People can be so insensitive, and selfish sometimes.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Ban on black staff lifted

Apparently on this day in 1966, the ban of black staff working at Euston mainline station was lifted, I wasn't even born then but I was surprised that the racist attitude was so blatant only 39 years ago. Thankfully we have come a long way since then.

Was LUL ever a "racist" employer? I know that even today not many staff from non-white groups are in the higher management level, but it is getting better. Most internal vacancies within LUL have a paragraph at the bottom stating that women, and staff from ethnic groups are encouraged to apply.

2 minutes silence

I only had to work a half day yesterday thanks to the roster at the station I was working. I officially finished at 12:00 but was taken off 30 minutes early by my colleague. I decided to wait around until after the 2 minutes silence. At 11:59 we stopped all the public announcements, closed the ticket office, and turned off the ticket machines. Most of our staff then came into the ticket hall to join our customers in the 2 minutes silence.

Probably around 100 or so people bowed their heads and paid their respects to the dead and injured in last weeks atrocities, except for one obnoxious suit who came running into the ticket hall, noticed all the machines were closed and the ticket office also, and started swearing at the staff to sell him a ticket NOW as he was late for work, and its all the fault of LUL and their shitty service etc etc etc. After the 2 minutes, this poor man was verbally accosted by about 10 customers. Maybe next time he will have a bit more respect for other people.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Security Alerts, Security Alerts

People seemed to be a bit more relaxed and carefree today, but the magnitude of station evacuations across the network was staggering. You would think that people would be a bit more careful about keeping their belongings and bags with them after what has happened.

We are going to have to play it safe, everytime a case is left unattended, evacuate the station straight away, and let the police give the all clear. In the past perhaps we were a bit haphazard, knowing that 99.9% of the time, it's just someone being careless and we would follow certain procedures and if we deemed it safe, then we would remove the bag and open it. Not anymore! Perhaps legislation should be brought in, to heavily fine people who cause security alerts, for all the inconvenience caused to the police, the public & LUL.

Saw the above picture on CNN and it really brings home the seriousness of the blasts, and how "fortunate" there weren't more fatalities.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Strange day

I took the bus into work today as I had just missed a train. The bus was really crowded, I wasn't able to get a seat straight away. Normally in the past when ever I have taken this bus at 05:30am, only about 6 or so people are on it.

Got into work, read all the log entries from yesterday and proceeded to assist my CSA's on the gateline.

I was surprised by the number of compliments that we received from the travelling public, we are more used to getting shouted and sworn at, so it was a nice change to be thanked for our efforts. We had a couple of Met. Police and some CSO's which I think was more of a way of providing some reassurance to the public rather than preventing another atrocity.

We had a couple of customers swearing at the staff because we weren't able to get them to Kings X. The worst one though was one American tourist on the platform who kept walking away from his suitcase. I told him 4 times to stay with his case, but after a few seconds he kept walking away, in the end I shouted at him, and escorted him out of the station, to a round of applause from some other (sane) customers.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Everyone off sick

I was supposed to be on a spare duty today, so I was hoping to have an easy day. As soon as I booked on at my home station at 06:30, I was informed that a colleague at one of our group stations had phoned in sick at short notice, as I was spare I drew the short straw and got sent to supervise the station.

Get there about 06:45 and by the time I got there both the CSA (Customer Service Assistant) and the CSAMF(CSA Multi-Functional(Ticket-seller)) have decided to have the day off (sorry) "phone in sick". Unfortunately, there were no other spare staff on duty so I basically had to do all 3 jobs.

Manage to open the ticket office by 07:10, and a customer gets their ticket stuck in the gate, so I have to leave the ticket office and retrieve the ticket from the now defective gate. Then I report the said gate to CTS so they can send a technician to fix it. And on and on the day progressed, had to close the ticket office every few minutes to alter the customer information boards, do station checks, assist one or two train op's who couldn't see the platform cameras because of the sunlight, etc etc. I was glad when the late turn supervisor booked on duty.

From September we are supposed to be getting a new roster which takes the shorter working week into account. All the unions from RMT - TSSA have rejected the proposed rosters as they are just crazy. The new roster is supposed to more customer driven but it is seen as more of a way to reduce staff and save money.

Some stations are losing there entire quota of CSA's and the proposed rosters are for the supervisors to cover the gateline for the entire shift, as well as do platform check/duties, book on contractors, deal with complaints etc etc. Many stations are replacing full-time CSA's with part-time CSA's instead, but not at extreme hours (very early mornings & very late at night)

I hope it doesn't come to it, but I can foresee Mr Crow et al ballotting for strike action if the matter isn't resolved soon.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Diamond Mines & Pineapples

We had a small revenue exercise at my station today, and whilst interviewing one alledged fare-evader he started spouting rather strange things.

RCI "May I see your ticket please sir?"
Man "I've lost it!"
RCI" Where have you travelled from?"
Man "The previous station"
RCI "And what station would that be?"
Man "Can't f###ing remember can I, it was the previous one OK"
RCI "Are you aware that the penalty fare has now risen to £20?"
Man "You guys are f###ing parasites, all of you, you know whats wrong with this place - do you - its because there are no diamond mines and pineapples"
RCI at this point, is probably thinking "?????"
Man then jumps over the gates and runs out of the station before anyone thinks of pursuing him.

It does seem a tad unusual that the bulk of customers who have lost their tickets seem to have come from the previous station, or from a station with a mainline interchange (especially Ealing Broadway, Wimbledon & Richmond). I hate to think how much revenue the ATOC are losing on each and every train by not employing ticket inspectors on the trains or on the gates at stations with tube/rail interchanges.

Six more early turns to go until a 4 day long weekend. :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Chav's on bikes

Had a couple of Chav's trying to get through the gates during the evening peak. As you may or may not know, bikes are not allowed onto the system anywhere between 07:30 - 09:30 & 16:00 - 19:00. These guys are trying to get through the gates at 18:00. After politely informing them of the conditions of carriage, one of them started swearing at everyone, blaming all the immigrants because we wouldn't let him take his bike on the tube. So now you know the reason why bikes aren't allowed on the tube in the peak. (Its all because of mass immigration)

Oyster Effect

One of my colleagues spoke about the "Oyster Effect" on his blog and I can see where he is coming from.

A frequent problem we get, is the negative balance. A common situation is a customer has a zone 2&3 travelcard on their Oyster and they have incurred a negative balance of £1.70. Only way this can really happen is if the customer in question has travelled into or through zone 1, and they didn't have sufficient pre-pay on their Oyster card. Many customers will swear blind they never went into zone 1. We then have to interrogate the card and once we give them the exact time, date, and station that they went to, they automatically recall this journey.

All the new student photocards are now issued on Oystercards, so if they wish to purchase the discounted tickets they will have no choice but to pay for zone 1, if they are travelling through it, I've had a few of the students ask to go back to the magnetic tickets for this reason but we're not allowed to issue them anymore, if they have the new Oyster student photocards.

All the supervisors on my group got an email stating that we are no longer permitted to sell weekly magnetic tickets from the QTM (Quick Ticket Machine) except on Monday - Wednesday between 07:00 - 10:00 am. I think this is to try and encourage everyone to switch over to Oystercards.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Back to work

Alas, my 3 weeks off is over. Its back to shift-work again.

Started last night at 20:00 and finished at 08:00 this morning, at least I haven't got the whole week of nights though, just one more to go then I will be on late turns (15:00 - 23:00).

Fairly quiet night, no contractors for once, managed to complete the banking in the ticket office after correcting some of my colleagues mistakes.

Monday, May 16, 2005

No shift work for 3 weeks

My long awaited annual leave has arrived. Back in 3 weeks!!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Ticket Touts and beggars

Had to deal with a few ticket touts last night, we had a few of our regulars who search in the bins for discarded tickets, and a few other touts trying to flog tickets for the local concert halls, as well a young lady screaming at the top of her voice for people to give her money.

BTP were duly called and soon cancelled as the touts left the station before they arrived.

We almost had an evacuation when a customer reported a black case "hidden" under a bench. Using the official "HOT" (Hidden, Obvious, Typical" procedure, and as the case was locked, I decided to call for an evacuation, when my colleague in the Ops room got a call from Heathrow. The owner had reported leaving his case at our station and was panicking as his airline tickets, passport etc were inside. So, the evacuation was called off before it started. An hour later a very apologetic Chinese gentleman turned up to claim his case, after confirming his identity and ensuring he was the rightful owner (he had the key for the padlock) he left to go back to Heathrow with a lecture and a warning that next time the Police will blow his bag up.

We no longer charge for returning items of Lost Property on the stations. It used to be £3 before Ken scrapped the charge. Also, the lost property database which we use for helping customers be reunited with their belongings is being scrapped at the end of May, so any customers looking for stuff, will have to either write to Baker Street Lost Property Office, or call in person to the office or fill a form online. They do have a number that customers can ring, but I don't know how successful they have been at locating lost items.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

My first weblog

I am a noob to weblogs, so you'll have to bear with me, and excuse my mistakes.

I am currently employed as a Station Supervisor with London Underground (A world class tube, for a world class city), yes, I know its a crappy slogan, but at the moment that's our current "Customer vision" that we all have to aspire to.

Just preparing myself for work. I'm on late turns this week, which start at 14:30 and finish at 23:00hrs. Hopefully I'll have a nice easy shift without any delays to our customers. Unlike yesterday when our a good chunk of our service was suspended whilst BTP (British Transport Police) aka Keystone cops tried to find some trespassers who decided to run off onto the track. I don't think they caught them in the end though.