I thought ATOC (the industry group representing train operators) would have something to say about TfL’s loud and repeated conviction that Oyster PAYG was valid on all National Rail routes in London today.  ATOC and the train operators are adamant that they only agreed to a few tube-paralleling routes additional to the normal PAYG validity, like Feltham/Wimbledon-Waterloo and between the main Southeastern terminals at London Bridge, Blackfriars, Charing Cross and Cannon Street out to Elephant and Castle, and there are several other useful alternative routes where validity is doubtful.*

Railway Eye suggests this discrepency hasn’t gone down well:

ATOC is furious accusing TfL of having a problem “aligning fact with public statement”.

Always a Boris trait that, of course, but it’s a shame to see it spreading into TfL.

* Notably I don’t think there are any routes to Heathrow on which Oyster is valid at all during the strike, since BAA (thanks to a bit of early 90s Tory idiocy) own the tracks and aren’t technically National Rail.  Again, not the kind of thing people normally know.

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8 Responses to Railway Eye On Naughty Boris

  1. Helen says:

    National Express are going to be doing well on the Heathrow Central to Victoria route today – £5 for a single.

  2. So this is the big story about the strike, in Boriswatch land?

    Some off piste squabble among train company managers? Or that someone at the GLA can’t get a link to work on their website? ….and therefore Boris Johnson is a terrible mayor!

    Well I’m sure the travelling public today will be reassured by your analysis.

    Not one word of criticism here for the greedy, disruptive RMT who promote their own unwarranted and selfish interests at the expense of London’s economic welfare — in a recession. Aslef don’t agree with this strike, even some of the RMT’s own people are at work. Thank God for decent people. But you would choke on your own words if you had to tell the truth about what’s happening today.

    “public service as a progressive force” …. is this what you meant?

    Must be all Johnson’s fault of course.

    It’s at times like these, we see websites like yours…for what they are. I note one of the tags to this article is “piffle”. How appropriate.

  3. Hamish says:

    @Appealing of Ealing;

    There are a couple of points to note.

    1) That this is a relevant issue. Boris has said he is helping to alleviate the problems of the strike by having “over 8,000 buses running on 700 routes” – as they do every normal day, and through this scheme of train lines accepting Oysters. Both are either a blatant lie or a devious alignment of an irrelevant truth.

    2) Think back two years ago. Tube strike. Tabloid headlines without fail always blamed Ken Livingstone. The Standard would villify him with glee at the coming of each strike. Now we’ve got a strike on our hands, but its not the Mayor’s fault – good god no. That is a disturbing bias that upsets me.

    3) This is not a blog about TfL, the RMT, London Transport or the strike. It is a blog about Boris. Therefore a response centred on Boris’ reaction to this strike is well within reason.

    Also, I don’t think its an “off piste squabble among train company managers” when they highlight the fact that Boris has been lying to the general public in order to make himself look good. A lie unquestioned by all the mainstream papers.

  4. @ Hamish,

    1. Because the Standard was biased against Livingstone is not a good reason to have more bias, with an opposite orientation. Actually, biased people don’t appear to need any reason to have more bias — that’s why it’s so offensive.

    2. “This is not a blog about TfL”, but this article is all about TfL. Of course he deliberately conflates Boris’s name into the story, (cf page 1, A Handbook For Mudslingers). He even confesses to it: “Always a Boris trait that, of course, but it’s a shame to see it spreading into TfL”. So who’s the liar?

    Thanks for replying.

  5. Four of the last eight “recent comments” and this thread are entitled “Naughty Boris”.

    Now, I’m not going into bat for Bob Crow, but his quotations in the “Independent” suggest “naughtiness” extends as far as blatant economic sabotage:

    “At 6pm last night, an hour before the strike was due to start, Mr Crow said he signed a document he believed would lead to the action being called off.

    He said: “Then astonishingly at 6.35pm, whilst awaiting the final typed agreement, we were told by management that they had made a phone call and that they could no longer abide by the agreement – they reneged before the ink was even dry. We were stunned that management could be so dishonest.

    “I have no doubt that the phone call made was to the Transport Commissioner or City Hall who instructed the management team to pull the agreed deal. It is an absolute disgrace that we should reach an agreement in good faith, only for that agreement to be sabotaged.

    “Either your senior management are completely dishonest or have no authority to negotiate. Or it is the case that you have personally intervened to scupper the deal in the belief that a confrontation with Tube workers will serve your political agenda.”

    There are numerous “facts” there which are suspiciously overlooked by Peter Hendry’s non-denial. The ambiguities over Oyster cards suggest that TfL/City Hall are weasel-wording, anyway.

    So, what’s the truth of the matter?

  6. Hamish says:

    @Appealing of Ealing
    1,2 & 3; I’ll concede on this one! Fair points.

  7. @Hamish — “I’ll concede on this one! Fair points”

    Thanks for your magnanimity. I’m not motivated by any sense of allegiance to Boris Johnson. I just think commentators too often start with a conclusion that’s in line with their own political narrative or raison d’être, and then proceed to shoehorn (some of) the facts so that they point to that conclusion. It’s counterproductive, and dull.
    In spite of being a bit of a meanie, actually I’ve a lot of admiration for anyone of any political persuasion who engages seriously with political issues — especially here in the blogosphere where many of the players are still remarkably young. It’s an amazingly positive development. Even so, people ought to raise their game.

  8. would it make a difference if trains are upgraded to newer models? Although there could be layoffs but the overhead cost for maintenance and operation would significantly go down!

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