So, it seems that TFL have managed to cause outrage because someone somewhere leaked a document specifically designed to come up with radical ideas for the future of the tube.
It's not so much that the RMT have displayed a complete failure to understand the nature of business before running around and crying about something like this that annoys me (and believe me, companies asking for such far reaching ideas is hardly something new), it's more the fact that they insist in living in some kind of alternate reality where they genuinely seem to believe the crap that comes out their mouths on a daily basis.
Apparently, according to Bob Crow's merry men driver-less trains will be the death of us all! Trains will be crashing into each other, decapitating passengers, and devastating society before we know it. They know this as a fact beyond refute. After all, they watched that Terminator documentary back in the 80s, and learnt all about it.
Could you imagine it, driver-less trains carrying all those people to their inevitable demise just to save a few quid. Christ it's amazing that anyone could have thought of doing something so neglege.....what's that? The DLR hasn't had drivers since, well, ever? Really? But surely someone would have noticed that? Where the hell are they keeping the bodies of everyone foolish enough to travel on it? What's that, the DLR isn't actually a mass murdering machine gone mad? Really? How odd. But that would mean the RMT are making shit up to further their own ends? Surely not.
Anyway, as it turns out nobody bothered to mention the DLR to Bob Crow either, and he considers this potential tube plan to be "lethal and ill-conceived". Seriously.
Another thing nobody's mentioned to Bob Crow was neatly included in a BBC report on the issue. And that's the fact that in the new trains on the Victoria Line, and those on the Jubilee Line, the drivers don't, and I'm going to slow this sentence down for you, actually...drive...the...fucking...trains. All they do is open the doors.
Now, for those of you who never paid attention in school, way back in history before the internet taught us about photographing our pets and making a funny caption, a man named Pavlov discovered that you can train a dog to salivate when given a stimulus. And, way back in your own history, you learnt not to open the door to Mummy or Daddy's car when it was moving. I'm guessing you were about 3 when you did that, and in the other example the subject was a FUCKING DOG. So, with this in mind, will someone please tell me what value the driver is adding?
The reality is simple, automated trains are safe, have been proven to be safe, and confirm the reality that tube drivers are, on their absolute best day, largely irrelevant. They are also far more reliable, don't turn up to work drunk (and won't go on strike when someone get's fired for doing just that), they don't call in sick, and aren't liable to random temper tantrums. Or to put it another way, they're just better.
But lets extend that idea just slightly. Soon we get to the idea that computer announcements can be understood by actual people, rather than, well, practically no-one, and can also be made in multiple languages (and it's got to be a national embarrassment that we don't do that) at no extra cost
It doesn't take a lot to realise that the essential value being added by a large percentage of the staff on the underground is to compensate for a lack of investment in decent technical infrastructure, and a well thought out passenger communication programme.
Fundamentally there are arguments for keeping the staff on the trains, and there are as many counter arguments against it, and it comes down to one thing, you're either a Luddite scared of a future that you're not equipped to live in, or you want progress.
Finally, and I've mentioned this before, for all their noise about it, the RMT simply do not care about your safety. If they did then they wouldn't go on strike. Because (and I know I've linked this before too) when they do go on strike, they endanger the safety of every. single. person. in. London. Read more here