The Night Tube finally arrived last weekend. In true British railway fashion it rocked up nearly a year late – it’s original proposed start being September 2015. It was well documented in the media that the delay was down to rota and pay arrangements for Tube staff. (And note I say staff and not just drivers). If you think about it, who would blame them for kicking up a fuss. If you already worked weekends (plus some nights) and then got told to do more, surely you would kick up a fuss or want some form of financial recompense? I’d find it hard to believe if you said you wouldn’t.
Anyway, as we can see it was, and still is, a highly controversial and divisive subject. Many Londoners faced days of network shutdown and became frustrated with the unions and the argument. This played into the hands of then mayor Boris Johnson who wanted nothing more than to push through grand infrastructure changes in his name with the public on his side. TfL, who became the pawn in his master plan, and who probably given the circumstances would rather not have to open up the Tube overnight anyway, had to enforce working changes over their staff. Naturally they made a bit of hash of it and relations went sour in the process.
“We’ve got the technology for driverless trains – so sack them all.”
With the tired and disrupted public firmly on Boris’ side, I’ve found myself – as an enthusiast of such things – defending (or sometimes turning a blind eye to) highly negative comments regarding TfL’s front line staff – normally the drivers. In fact I still have to read these comments to this day, just have a look at last week’s Night Tube ride on my YouTube channel and you might see what I mean. I shall refer to these know-it-alls as “The Commentators” during this article.