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back to article London: Hey Amazon, wanna slip your speedy packages down our tubes?

Transport for London (TfL) is apparently talking to Amazon about moving into the soon-to-be-vacated ticket offices on the London Underground and turning them into drop boxes for its goods. The giant etailer is just one of a few names that have been mentioned in conjunction with the ticket offices, whose closure was only …

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Interesting...

I had a similar idea for the soon to be empty Tie Rack stores in railway stations. So small, they aren't much use for anything else.

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Re: Interesting...

Maybe thats where they are going to put the equipment for the proposed wifi service.

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"London Underground said the five busiest lines would start running 24-hour services on weekends"

Sod running night-time services at weekends, how about they try running day-time services at weekends?

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Anonymous Coward

it makes sense

sadly

...

well, it's called progress, innit? You want "free" delivery, you deliver it to yourself. Brilliant move for the London Underground, likewise for Amazon (on many fronts). Yet it makes me think that while the big, suited boys will rake the profits, the so-called general public, likewise (or so they will think), they will be many little people in the middle, royally fucked by this move. Ah, progress.

1/2 OT: I'm sure the tube drivers will start reciting:

first they came for the ticket office clerks...

...

and while (still 1/2 OT) tube drivers are - in general - those tube workers I sympathize with least, it is obvious that when they're gone we won't see cheaper tube prices, nosir. They'll be quietly de-focused and "safety" and "reliability" promoted. Safety and reliability for the punters, profits for the suited boys.

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tube drivers

The Daily Mash says all that needs to be said but here's the BBC proving truth can be stranger than parody.

Further explanations by:Evening Standard, The Guardian, Daily Telegraph if you were wondering why tube trains could go driverless

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Was in London with a group of friends over the weekend, had to take the tube a couple of times.

We opted for the automatic machines to get our tickets, it took 4 attempts for it to even recognise where we wanted to go despite going through exactly the same process every time.

We then realised we had bought the wrong tickets and had to deal with an actual person to get it sorted.

If you want to automate something, make sure it's not a complete clusterfuck of information that only a local could possibly decipher.

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Anonymous Coward

That's not the way to do it -- no-one gets tickets to places anymore!

You can get oyster cards from the machines now so just get one of them, loaded with a bit of cash and just go where you want.

By the 2nd journey you've saved enough to cover the deposit on the card.

The should disable all the other machines with chosen destinations and paper tickets as it just confuses people.

At least if the ticket office was closed there'd be people around to help you use the machine instead of behind the glass.

Would be good to get deliveries to the tube station, although would be better if it was any delivery and not just from specific sites

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Anonymous Coward

oh that's a good plan. Have even more people who can't use a ticket machine trying to top-up their oyster at a mainline station on their way into town during rush hour, with a queue of people forming behind them looking at the clock that says the train's coming in two minutes.

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"with a queue of people forming behind them looking at the clock that says the train's coming in two minutes."

People with basic thought processes (and above) will soon learn how to use the on line top up service that TFL offer for Oyster cards.

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shame it doesn't work

in chrome

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If time is that tight...

.There are around 400 ticket offices but over 3,800 alternatives to top up your Oyster card (which is always cheapest, except for the hard of thinking). On the buses you can use credit/debit card contactless payment for the cashless fare. It's coming everywhere else in 2014.

What's the problem exactly?

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Try using a credit card which doesn't have chip & PIN for real fun (in my case Amex until last year, since chipped but I'm sure we're not the last country to implement it).

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Amex?

what was wrong with an Oyster card again?

You were one of the three people in a hurry, in a queue at a ticket office with a credit card without contactless payment with an inability to use Oyster at one of the 3,800 other outlets?

Let's design the system around your former use case and wonder why fares continue to rise so quickly

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24/7 service on weekends?

Does that include friday night? It would help many people get home and feel more secure about it. Night buses aren't the most fun thing in London, and I know some ladies would prefer the tube to a series of night buses

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Re: 24/7 service on weekends?

Initially, yes. Then may extend backwards to cover Thursdays as well, depending on how it goes.

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Ah, yes, a crowded tube station

with half the punters carrying large boxes down the escalators - what could possibly go wrong?

Having an open ticket office would have made things easier for me over the weekend, as then there would have been a human being on hand to explain that my travelling companions were not children, they were unpersons, and my making that mistake was why the ticket machine wouldn't sell to me at the expected price. What's better: reading all the fine print on a VDU, with a huffy queue building up behind you, or having a member of staff who knows exactly the ticket you need to buy? I've met my share of numpties through TfL, but I'd still rather argue with a numpty than ticket machine.

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Pint

Just sad

It's sad how you are becoming more American every day.

Pay more. Get less. And have do all the work yourself.

I'll hoist a pint for you in sympathy.

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Boffin

Distribution? How about the Post Office Railway?

The London Post Office Railway is still down there under the city, although it was mothballed a decade ago. Maybe somebody should use it for Same Day "Delivery" of purchases to pick-up locations around the city. Hard to believe it wouldn't be more efficient than fighting through London traffic.

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Re: Distribution? How about the Post Office Railway?

"Maybe somebody should use it....."

Certainly won't be the Post Office, whose ever more restrictive conditions on what they'll let you post, their sky high charges, and customer-phobic pricing arrangements show that they don't really want to get their hands dirty with delivering anything.

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Re: Distribution? How about the Post Office Railway?

They're planning to open it up as a museum soon, preserving as much as possible and even running a passenger service to the cafe.

Shame it can't do something more useful... they did even consider it as a means of removing Cross-Rail spoil, but that didn't work out.

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Except...

That the ticket offices are built to a specific physical standard because of all the cash etc, so they are not easy to change structurally, and they still need somewhere to keep the cash from the ticket machines and a means of getting access to the rear of some designs of the machines for maintenance...

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Re: Except...

You mean like the ATMs in the stations that are completely apart from the ticket offices and have no problem with maintenance?

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Re: Except...

Oh! I don't recall having seen an ATM built into a ticket office... where are those?

The article is about Amazon wanting to use the space "freed up" by no longer having ticket offices as parcel collection points. But the space isn't always "freed up" because the ticket office is usually the station's secure storage area for holding cash taken by the windows (to be replaced by machines no doubt) and the ticket machines and store the blank paper stock used for printing tickets onto etc. In order to prevent staff wandering around busy and crowded ticket halls carrying loads of cash and revealing the design of the machines to the public, they often open from behind EXACTLY like an ATM into a secure physical area, which is often off the ticket hall.

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Re: Except...

TfL is trying to go cashless then there's all the other ways to top up Oyster and use credit/debit cards (see above)

Children go free

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Re: Except...

By 2015, society will NOT be cashless. No way. Nor do I believe it ever will be.

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Re: Except...

Except we were discussing TfL - from the link:

"This year cash fares will make up less than one per cent of bus journeys - down from 25 per cent in 2000"

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Re: Except...

And have you seen how much the fare take is? 1% of a very lot is a lot. And the point I was making is that if TfL says you can't use cash any more, then there will be a large portion of the travelling public, i.e. society, that will be locked out of the system.

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Re: Except...

And I wonder how much of that reduced cash take is because casual travellers won't use the buses any more because you get ripped off with exaggerated fares or have to deal with some damn card system that you'll only go near twice a year and cannot be bothered with...

I used to catch the bus on to work if I dropped the bike off for servicing, but now I can't be bothered and make other arrangements.

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Re: Except...

"Locked out of the system?" Hyperbole much?

Children go free, older people go free, disabled people go free, veterans go free, jobseekers get a discount on Oyster, apprentices get a discount on Oyster, students get a discount on Oyster.

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Re: Except... @gerryg

Okay, we get it - you work for Oyster. Now shut up!

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Reliable IT.

Actually the whole tube could operate without any station of train staff at all, after all IT is now so reliable there is no chance of ticket machines going wrong. Oystercard updates are perfect so we never need to speak to anyone at a station. The Victoria line was designed for driverless trains, may still be so, for all I know and the man in the front is actually the guard, who isn't needed either, but is there for passenger confidence. On the DLR they don't pretend.

Just need the platform doors at all stations and TfL won't have to worry about Jumpers, ASLEF or the NUR at all. Just need a few security guards to give the impression of security within stations.

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Re: Reliable IT.

Actually the ATO on the front of the Victoria line trains were there to Open and Close the doors and start the train, observe the platform for people who may have fallen/jumped as the train approaches, to drive the thing in/out of service to depots and sidings, and to deal with breakdowns, Tube drivers have a responsibility to "get it going" if it breaks - regardless of line or rolling stock.

Driverless trains? hmm that will play well when one breaks down in the peak when loaded to bursting point on a hot summers day, of course then many will be crying about the criminal disregard for the public when the system stripped of staff struggles to respond to an issue. As ever the travelling public know too little about the job to be able to form a reasoned opinbion, but feel qualified none the less to spout absolute rubbish

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Re: Reliable IT.

Paris seem to survive just fine with driverless trains, so do the Danish and their driverless copenhagen trains, Gatwick Innovia APM 100, Milan, Toulouse Metro, Nuremberg U-Bahn and many others. An Britain will have driverless cars in Milton Keynes by 2015, getting cars driving on a road is much harder than getting a train to drive itself.

An I am sure our IT will be more reliable than drivers all deciding to take a holiday (strike) for a working week because they don't like the changes.

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Re: Reliable IT.

Can we have a sarcasm tag on this please?

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