In a bid to save money on wages and to prevent stike action, a Conservative group on the London Assembly has called for all London Underground trains to be driverless. BBC London have published a memo where the group say:
"Driverless trains offer a safer, faster, more efficient level of service. Such a system would end the strangle-hold militant unions have on the city's tube network and seriously curtail their ability to bring London to a standstill.....
"With the recent decision to bring Tube Lines under the control of Transport for London, this is the time to switch to a completely driverless train network."
Naturally RMT leader, Bob Crow has responded quickly and said: "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.
"I don't think the travelling public will put up with that.
"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.
"It may well be that some junior politician is simply flying a kite to make a name for themselves, but RMT will not sit back and allow this lethal and unworkable idea to gain any traction whatsoever."
It does appear that this memo was purposely designed to wind up Crow, as even though the Victoria and Central lines are automatically operated, there is always a train operator in the cab. A TfL spokesperson said "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."
Don't forget, unless any discussions happen, we've got the first of two 48 hour Tube strikes starting next week on Wednesday 23rd June 2010 and running until 18.59 on Friday 25th June 2010. It's with Tube Lines so should only seriously impact the Piccadilly, Northern and Jubilee Lines. However, the RMT say the strikes will have "severe consequences" across the entire London Underground system.