London Assembly Tories' Plan For The Tube Without Train Drivers

The Conservative group on the London Assembly have sent a memo to Mayor Boris Johnson detailing how they believe an underground system without drivers would provide a world class mass transit system.

The conservative group believe the underground would be better with an increased number of faster trains, more customers but less staff (sound familiar?). They claim that the acquisition of Tube Lines by London Underground is the perfect time to ditch drivers.

Only two lines on the underground, the Victoria and Central lines are currently automatic. This issue doesn't seem to have been considered.

Perhaps having a driver on a train in these Tories views is 'health and safety gone mad?'

The memo states "The recent economic crisis should be a wake up call to the capital, a failure to deliver an efficient mass transit system could jeopardise London’s position as the leading global city." Perhaps I misses something but i thought it was greedy bankers and the deregulation of a 'leading global city' that almost led us to financial meltdown - not London Underground's train drivers.

In a BBC article on the memo, Transport For London have responded to the report saying "Having a member of London Underground staff on a train helps give reassurance to passengers, ensures prompt opening and closing of doors, speedy boarding and alighting of passengers and departure of the train." Either this isn't the full response or TfL didn't feel it necessary to comment on the obvious massive safety risks of a driverless train.

The memo also quotes Richard Parry as saying “moving to RTO [remote train operation - driverless trains] is technically possible.” He goes on to say "We have no plans to adopt RTO" a statement London Assembly Tories call "absurd".

Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary says "Under normal circumstances I would be tempted to dismiss this leaked report as some kind of a joke, cooked up by anti-union fantasists, but in the current climate of cuts and attacks on public services we are taking it very seriously and it will be resisted."

"What will happen in a terrorist attack, a derailment or a massive signal failure, is you could have 600 or 700 people trapped down the Tube with no driver - there would be utmost panic."

The full memo is attached here.