The mayor’s plans to close all London Underground ticket offices and cut 950 staff are a big mistake. His broken pledge to keep ticket offices open has led to strikes and if Boris Johnson gets his way, passengers face disruption and a poorer service for years to come.
Closing ticket offices which are only used by 3 per cent of passengers does not sound much of a problem, but this translates to over 100,000 people a day needing assistance to sort out issues which machines can’t solve. Ticket offices provide a reassuring focus point where you know you can find someone – somebody to help disabled or elderly passengers down to the platform, to take charge in an emergency, to offer directions or help victims of crime.
Whilst there is some merit to the argument that using new technology can make staff more accessible, the mayor’s plans combine ticket office closures with a huge reduction in employees. Fewer staff will be in each station and when they are wandering about, we may, or may not, be lucky enough to bump into them.
With record numbers using the tube and a massive predicted increase in passenger numbers these cuts to staffing are unnecessary, unsafe and unworkable.
Darren Johnson AM, Green Party Member of the London Assembly