Loughton station ticket offices shut due to staff shortage (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Loughton underground tube station ticket offices shut due to staff shortage
Ticket booths in Loughton Underground Station have been closed today due to a staff shortage.
This follows recent claims that Boris Johnson plans to shut all London tube ticket offices under "secret" plans.
The staff shortage has been cuased by an employee having to leave work for an emergency.
Samantha Holt, 26, from Loughton said that the closure of ticket booths happens often.
She said: "I felt very angry as I wanted to enquire about season ticket and couldn't due to this.
"The queue to the machines was a joke."
A TfL spokesperson said: "The Loughton Station ticket office which is open until 10.30am was closed yesterday at 9.00am because the staff member working there was given permission to respond to an urgent situation at home.
"The ticket office is closed for the same reason today.
"Other station staff have been positioned on the platforms to help passengers with the ticket machines there, and we hope to return to normal operating hours at the ticket office tomorrow.
"We apologise for any inconvenience."
The Labour Party and Transport Salaried Staffs Association claim to have seen leaked documents stating 268 ticket offices will close and 6,000 jobs could be axed by 2020.
The Loughton station, in zone 6, has been under threat of staff cuts since RMT warned that the ticket offices’ opening hours will be reduced from 86.5 hours a week to just under 30.
The transport workers' union said that closed ticket offices will result in less help for vulnerable passengers and decreased safety in case of an emergency or crime.
Luke Chester, London officer for TSSA, said: "We fear what has happened at Loughton will be repeated at scores of other stations across the capital under Boris Johnson's plans to cut thousands of jobs to meet a £220 million cut in his operations budget.
"Staff cuts are already underway and, unfortunately for the travelling public, they will get progressively worse with the closure of all tube ticket offices over the next two years with the loss of 2,000 jobs."
TSSA said that the ticket offices could be replaced by travel centres based in major stations such as Waterloo and Euston.
Managing Director of LU and London Rail, Mike Brown said: "We are committed to running more trains and that all Tube stations will continue to be staffed in future, with staff visible and available to help our customers."