LondonUnlocked, New Projects, The NewsEditor

From the BBC:

London Underground will run weekend services 24 hours under plans that also involve ticket office closures and up to 750 job cuts.

The Night Tube will provide services on the Piccadilly, Victoria, Central, Jubilee and Northern lines.

But Transport for London (TfL) said every ticket office would close by 2015, resulting in the job cuts.

These proposals form part of the Tube modification plan, which also includes the use of contactless payments from next year, improved roll-out of WiFi to stations and also enhanced ticket machines.

The proposals for ticket office closures are estimated to save £50m a year for TfL.  Allowing travellers to use the above lines (well, a portion of the Northern Line) at any hour on Friday and Saturday is expected to be revenue neutral, costing and raising £10m either way.

Matthew Beard from The Standard has more:

Passengers will... benefit from an enhanced experience with back-office staff redeployed to the frontline.

They will each by armed with tablet computers to assist in a variety of “customer care” roles in a move that will revive the distinctive magenta uniforms worn by Olympic volunteers.

A third more staff will be on duty at six “gateway” stations - Euston, Heathrow, King’s Cross St Pancras, Liverpool Street, Paddington and Victoria. These, with a seventh at Piccadilly Circus, will boast “Visitor Information Centres” - a larger version  of the temporary booths for the benefit of Olympic visitors and the only remaining place to buy a ticket over the counter .

At the 125 smallest Tube stations, the headcount will be cut with a supervisor responsible for six local stations.

LU MD Mike Brown insisted at a press conference with the Mayor that "people are at the heart of this vision - our customers and staff. My commitment to London is that all Tube stations will continue to be staffed and controlled in future, with more staff visible and available to help customers buy the right ticket, plan their journey and keep them safe and secure." Brown and Johnson have pledged that there will be no compulsory redundancies

Of course, the Unions don't see it that way. As Tom Edwards has stated, both are talking of industrial action and it's not difficult to imagine strikes across the network ahead of Christmas.

Business, perhaps unsurprisingly, has been very supportive of the proposals. Cabbies would suffer though - as would Night Buses. It's hard to imagine that there won't be a rise in licences for later drinking.

Meanwhile, one enterprising business has already spotted an opportunity - Amazon allegedly wants to use those empty ticket offices for parcel deliveries. I'm sure the Mayor is rubbing his hands together at the prospect.

These proposals would bring a massive change to the Tube - changing the culture of the local station in a truly significant way. It's hard to argue against the concept of a 24 hour network, but at what cost? Ultimately the Mayor and LU have to deliver the service which travellers want. However, I doubt that many would sacrifice safety for an extra hour of travel. That is the square that has to be circled.