Amazon seems to be readying a move in the UK that might get all the haters’ backs up, according to reports in the Financial Times and many other points elsewhere, with entry into one of London’s most iconic achievements: the  Tube. And the plan seems all the more likely to attract animus because it is helmed by London’s Conservative mayor Boris Johnson, and opposed by the UK’s Labour-linked unions.

london underground
Bring those books here *fast*

Transport for London is reportedly in discussion with Amazon over potential plans to convert its ticket offices into drop-off points for Amazon deliveries. With many new ticketing options, the physical offices reportedly only handle around 3 percent of London Underground ticket sales now, but closure would still cost 750 jobs and shutter every ticket office, though staff would be still employed on the ground across the network. Unions have threatened to strike if any jobs are lost, while London Underground says it hopes to save the headcount through voluntary redundancies. Other players, such as supermarket chain Asda, have also been involved, apparently, but it’s Amazon that’s attracting all the headlines.

How exactly any system would work isn’t clear. Amazon has been exploring the possibility of click-and-collect lockers to receive goods elsewhere, and is clearly expanding its fulfillment plans in the UK, having recently introduced Sunday delivery and its Amazon Coins virtual currency in the UK. Needless to say, any system would increase Amazon’s lead over physical book chains even further, another likely source of opposition.

Of course, if Amazon didn’t take up the challenge, Transport for London could always find another partner. But that’s not likely to register on punters’ minds for a while yet. Guaranteed, anti-Amazon ax-grinders will be whetting their appetite on this one for months to come.


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