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

Passengers on London Overground will benefit from extended and extra services that are being introduced on the network in time for Christmas.

From December 14, permanent timetable changes will boost services across the network. Four extra trains will be added to the Gospel Oak to Barking line to help relieve congestion. Four services on the East London line will also be extended so that they terminate at the interchange at Highbury & Islington, rather than terminating at Dalston Junction as they do now.

These improvements are in addition to the increased capacity being delivered through the new five-carriage trains, which Transport for London (TfL) began to roll out earlier this month. The new carriages are being introduced on the East London and North London routes and have space for an extra 170 customers in each carriage, adding 25 per cent extra capacity to the network. This will make journeys better for the hundreds of thousands of people who use the network every day.

Assembly Member for Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest, Jennette Arnold OBE, said: “The London Overground line is one of my favourite lines on the TfL network. Since it opened, its popularity has increased year-on-year and has opened up excellent opportunities for people to travel around London.”

“While there are still outstanding issues that need to be resolved, such as the electrification of the Gospel Oak to Barking line, and the reduction in the noise around the Holywell Curve stretch at Shoreditch (campaigns which I am playing an active role in), the increase in the number of carriages and the number of services are excellent steps in the right direction. I pay tribute to campaign groups, such as the Barking-Gospel Oak Line User Group, spearheaded by Glenn Wallis and Graham Larkbey, who I have worked closely with throughout discussions with TfL, and look forward to seeing the new, longer trains and extended timetables in action.”

Notes

Additional and extended services:

Gospel Oak to Barking Line additional services:

  • 06:06am Barking to Gospel Oak;
  • 17:18 South Tottenham to Gospel Oak;
  • 17:37 Gospel Oak to Barking;
  • 18:58 Barking to Upper Holloway.

 East London Line – Monday to Saturday

  • Four East London Line trains – two early services and two later services – will be extended from Dalston Junction to Highbury & Islington and therefore run earlier and later.

 East London Line – Sunday

  • The 07:20 Clapham Junction to Highbury & Islington will start from Battersea Park.

 North London Line – Monday to Friday

  • The 14:31 and 15:01 Clapham Junction to Willesden Junction services will be extended to terminate at Stratford;
  • Two Willesden Junction to Clapham Junction services will be extended to start back from Stratford at 15:21 and 16:05;
  • London Overground is set to carry 135m people per year – a four fold increase in passenger numbers since TfL took over management of the network in 2007;
  • Please see https://www.tfl.gov.uk/modes/london-overground/london-overground-timetables after December 14 for details of changes to the East London Line services.

I urge residents in Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest to take your chance to contribute to the consultation on the Mayor of London’s proposal to close all the capital’s tube ticket offices. If implemented the decision would not only mean the loss of every one of London’s tube ticket offices, but it would see 900 staff axed.

Boris Johnson is proposing that all ticket offices across Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest will close and hundreds of staff axed – despite the fact that, during his election campaign in 2008, Johnson pledged not to close any front counters, promising that there will always be “a manned ticket office at every station”; and despite the fact that last year almost 40% of ticket sales were conducted by staffed station counters(1).

Opponents of the cuts argue that, even without ticket offices, staff should be retained to keep travellers safe, particularly at night; to deal with more complex queries, such as refunds; and to help people unfamiliar with the tube network and those less comfortable with using ticket machines, such as London’s elders and tourists visiting the city.

The consultation, which launched on Friday 15 August, runs for 6 weeks and is co-ordinated by London TravelWatch. It can be completed at: http://www.londontravelwatch.org.uk/tubeconsultation.

Not only has Boris Johnson gone back on his manifesto promise to keep ticket offices open, but he wants to get rid of 900 staff, putting their livelihoods at risk. There is nothing wrong with modernising transport services using new technology, but it is so important for people living in and visiting my constituency that they have staffed ticket offices to help them feel safe, particularly at night; and to assist those who prefer dealing with a person and not a computer, such as elders and people with disabilities. There can be no compromise when it comes to safety and accessibility.

It also breaks my heart that people will lose their jobs and livelihoods as a result of the Mayor’s proposals.

People in Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest need a full staff team on hand to keep them safe and to help them deal with their queries and concerns as they arise. Getting rid of 900 staff members in a city with an ever-increasing population is just ludicrous. Boris’s cuts must be stopped.

I have made my feelings about the proposed closures quite clear in correspondence with the Mayor, and I now urge people across Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest to have their say using the survey, to tell Boris Johnson what they think about his broken manifesto promise to keep ticket offices open.

Notes:

(1) The latest figures from TFL, revealed through Freedom of Information requests, showed that 39.15% of ticket sales in 2013/14 were bought in ticket offices.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced a “real-terms’ freeze” on transport fares across the Transport for London (TfL) network.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for every bus and tube ticket type, and it is disappointing that Boris has not revealed the full picture to Londoners – all in the name of getting positive headlines.

The truth is that Transport for London will increase the cost of some travelcards above inflation next year, which means that, since Boris was elected as Mayor in 2008, he has increased fares above inflation every year, with single bus fares rising as much as 55 per cent.

The picture is that, from January 2014:

  • Residents living in Zone 2 and travelling to Zone 1 will see an increase of 3.95 per cent as their monthly travelcard rises from £116.74 to £121.34;
  • Residents living in Zone 3 and travelling to Zone 1 will see an increase of 3.93 per cent as their monthly travelcard rises from £136.70 to £142.08;
  • Residents living in Zone 4 and travelling to Zone 1 will see an increase of 4.13 per cent as their monthly travelcard rises from £167.42 to £174.34; and
  • Residents living in Zone 5 and travelling to Zone 1 will see an increase of 4.25 per cent as their monthly travelcard rises from £198.91 to £207.36.

All of which are above the latest inflation figure, which came in at 2.2% in October. To announce a real-terms’ freeze fails to give the full picture, which means Boris is just using smoke and mirrors to mask his fare rises.

We have had five years of inflation-busting fare rises under Boris – with bus fares up 55% and Tube fares up 30%. It’s disappointing that he hasn’t rolled out this real-terms’ freeze across all pay-as-you-go and travel card fares.

When you look at the detail, it is clear that most travelcards will go up above inflation, which will impact on over half of Londoners. The Mayor is on shaky ground to claim that he is freezing fares in real terms; the figures don’t lie.

Boris is hitting many Londoners – who have seen their wages fall in real terms – with an additional cost that will make it harder and harder for people to make ends meet. When will he stand up for Londoners and address the real issues facing millions of people across our city? I have previously called on him to stop rising fares above the rate of inflation, but he has – once again – failed to listen to me and to millions of Londoners. He must abandon plans to raise fares above inflation.