A Tubeworker correspondent writes...
Our "Passenger-Operated Machines" (POMs) at Tube stations have recently been re-programmed to keep hold of the money, or charge the punters' bank accounts, in the event of a "failed sale" (where the desired and paid-for ticket or Oyster product doesn't arrive).
The other day at my suburban station, both POMs developed faults and simultaneously generated two failed sales before going out of service. Our two members of staff spent a frantic 10 minutes correcting the machine faults, refunding the two passengers who had lost money (by using the ticket office machine), and dealing with the people waiting to pay for their travel (we let them pay at their destination while both our passenger machines were down).
After we had dealt with this situation, I thought about how I might cope in the new world which the bosses envisage: Our station is to be single-staffed under the new regime, with the ticket office closed. The situation I described above would have taken me at least twice as long to resolve, along with all the associated stress and passenger anger that would involve. A company-issue iPad would've been no help whatsoever.
We should fight to keep as many staff and ticket office facilities as we possibly can!