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Boris exits - leaving a £250 million Tube bill

2 February 2015

Boris Johnson was accused of mounting his "biggest and most expensive vanity project" today when he began his plan to close over 250 Tube ticket offices in London.

As the first offices were shut in the capital, the TSSA rail union said he was rushing through the plan - and the opening of the Night Tube scheme in September - to boost his long term campaign to become the leader of the Conservative Party.

"The safety and comfort of millions of passengers is being sacrificed to help Boris Johnson achieve his life long ambition; firstly to become Tory leader and, ultimately, Prime Minister," said union general secretary Manuel Cortes.

"This is his biggest and most expensive vanity project to date - it will cost well over £150 million in year one alone. And that is not taking into account the fact that the Night Tube will not break even until 2033 after losing £19 million in its first full year.

"So Londoners will be left facing ever higher bills, and inflation plus tube fares, for the next 18 years while he swans off back to House of Commons to become the Tories Leader in Waiting. He is like a political con artist who, after ordering the most expensive meal in a fancy restaurant, simply vanishes before the bill arrives."

He pointed out that talks on the safety implications at the 256 stations had yet to be concluded with the rail unions and said the closures were being rushed through to meet the Mayor's electoral timetable of getting back into the House of Commons on May 7.

The union leader also questioned how making 900 staff redundant would make it easier for the old, the young and the disabled get around the busiest Tube network in the world.

"The Mayor also does not seemed at all concerned about how millions of tourists will cope with fewer staff to help them on their way," added the union leader. "One thing is for sure. They won't to able to ask Boris because he will be seated comfortably on the green leather benches in the Commons after May."

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