Jennette Arnold
London assembly member for North East London — fighting your corner at City Hall

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.

Notes

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:

Hackney
Station Month
Manor House March

 

Islington
Station Month
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
Finsbury Park TBC

 

Waltham Forest
Station Month
Leyton April – June
Blackhorse Road July – Sept
Leytonstone July – Sept
Walthamstow Central July – Sept

 

The Mayor of London has announced that tube station ticket offices across Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest will close from March 2015, alongside huge cuts to staffing levels. Despite Boris Johnson’s election pledge not to close any of the tube network’s ticket offices, it was announced last week that all of North East London’s ticket offices will be closed by December 2015, resulting in hundreds fewer tube staff in stations.

The closures timeline announced by TfL means that the process for closing the ticket offices in 14 stations in Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest will start in March next year. The closures will also see almost 900 staff cut from the tube stations. Jennette Arnold OBE has expressed particular concern about the impact the staff cuts will have on disabled and elderly passengers.

Despite the reduced staff service planned for tube stations, fares are once again due to go up just a month before the closures start, this will mean fares have risen 40% since Boris Johnson became Mayor.

More people than ever are using the tube network yet Boris Johnson’s cuts will mean hundreds fewer staff there to help passengers. It is outrageous that just a month after Londoners face another round of fare rises, Boris Johnson plans to cut the service they are offered. It’s a real case of the Mayor asking Londoners to pay more and get less in return.

This fight isn’t about whether staff are based in ticket offices or on platforms, it’s about whether there are enough staff overall to provide customers with a good service, particularly the elderly and disabled and, also, tourists and visitors to London.

Before he was elected Boris Johnson promised voters that he would not close any of the capital’s ticket offices, now he is set to axe them all. Londoners will have to ask how much the Mayor’s word is really worth. 

Notes

The following tube stations in Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest will see their ticket offices close:

Borough Station Line Ticket Office Works to start between (2015) Duration of work
Hackney Manor House Piccadilly Manor House Mar 1 month
Islington Highbury & Islington Victoria Highbury & Islington Mar 3 months
Islington Old Street Northern Old Street Apr – Jun 1 month
Islington Tufnell Park Northern Tufnell Park Apr – Jun 1 month
Islington Holloway Road Piccadilly Holloway Road Jul – Sep 1 month
Islington Angel Northern Angel Oct – Dec 1–3 months
Islington Archway Northern Archway Oct – Dec 1 month
Islington Arsenal Piccadilly Arsenal Oct – Dec 1 month
Islington Caledonian Road Piccadilly Caledonian Road Oct – Dec 1 – 3 months
Islington Farringdon Circle Farringdon (Main) Oct – Dec 1 month
Waltham Forest Leyton Central Leyton Apr – Jun 1 month
Waltham Forest Blackhorse Road Victoria Blackhorse Road Jul – Sep 1 month
Waltham Forest Leytonstone Central Leytonstone Jul – Sep 1 month
Waltham Forest Walthamstow Central Victoria Walthamstow Central Jul – Sep 3 months

The full timetable for ticket office closures is available here