I have repeatedly spoken out about the Mayor’s plans to close all ticket offices across London, so, as the first of his closures come into effect this month, I condemn the fact that the Mayor has failed to listen to many Londoners and has broken the promise he made in his manifesto. This month sees ticket offices at Manor House and Highbury and Islington stations close, and marks the start of a project to close several ticket offices across Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest. The move will leave passengers in all three Boroughs paying more money for less staff support.
The closure comes after it was revealed that the Mayor of London’s plan to close all the capital’s tube ticket offices will cost taxpayers almost £134m. The cost is staggering £134m of building works and ticket machines won’t make up for the loss of 897 station staff across London.
This month’s closure marks the start of a process to close ticket offices in 14 stations across Hackney (1), Islington (9) and Waltham Forest (4). The closures will also see almost 900 staff cut from London’s tube stations and I am particularly concerned about the impact the staff cuts will have on disabled and elderly passengers.
Amongst other things the £134m will fund additional ticket machines in 27 stations, four new customer receptions and the conversion of 181 ticket offices for other uses.
I am very concerned about the ramifications of this month’s ticket office closures. This argument isn’t about whether staff are based in ticket offices or not. It is about whether there are enough staff in stations to provide the good service people in Hackney, Islington and Waltham Fores have come to expect, particularly the elderly and disabled who often rely more on station staff for assistance.
The truth is a staggering £134m of building works and ticket machines won’t make up for the loss of 897 station staff. No matter how user friendly a ticket machine is they cannot provide the same level of advice and customer service that staff could. Coming after tube fares were hiked for the seventh year running many passengers will wonder why they are being asked to pay more money for less staff support on their journey.
The TfL Finance and Police Committee paper detailing the Fit for the Future ticket office closure costs is available here (page 7)
The following tube stations in Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest will see their ticket offices close:
|Highbury & Islington||March|
|Old Street||April – June|
|Tufnell Park||April – June|
|Holloway Road||July – September|
|Archway||October – Dec|
|Arsenal||October – Dec|
|Caledonian Road||October – Dec|
|Farringdon||October – Dec|
|Leyton||April – June|
|Blackhorse Road||July – Sept|
|Leytonstone||July – Sept|
|Walthamstow Central||July – Sept|