Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Boris Johnson's secret plans to close ticket offices

Boris Johnson was accused of lying today after it was revealed that he plans to permanently close a number of Underground ticket offices across London.

The Mayor has repeatedly denied that he will close any ticket offices, and even campaigned on the issue during the election.

However, a leaked TfL document today reveals that at least eleven ticket offices will permanently close with many dozens more having their hours drastically cut.

Asked at City Hall today whether he planned to close any ticket offices, he replied:

"The first and most important point to make is that no ticket offices will be closed, alright? They're not going to be closed."

Pushed on this point, he replied:

"The answer to the number of ticket office closures is: nil."

However, soon after the meeting finished, a TfL document emerged, detailing just such a series of closures.

According to the plans, the following ticket offices will now permanently close:

  • Charing Cross (Trafalgar)
  • Monument
  • South Woodford (West)
  • Woodford (West)
  • Earls Court (Warwick Road)
  • Aldgate East (East)
  • Cannon Street
  • Canary Wharf (East)
  • Waterloo (Main - Excess)
  • Waterloo (Shell)
  • Wembley Park (Bridge Road)

Remaining ticket offices will open later in the morning and close earlier at night. Many will also close in the afternoons.

TfL confirmed that the document was genuine but said that all closures would be open to consultation.

Labour Assembly Member Navin Shah who has long campaigned against ticket office closures said today:

"Boris Johnson has misled Londoners. These documents released today show that he was not telling the truth. Several ticket offices will close, others will close for most of the week and large numbers of offices will see their opening hours drastically cut. Nearly five hundred ticket office staff will be lost under these Conservative cuts and many stations will feel less safe and less friendly as a result."

The revelation comes after the Mayor announced plans to cut up to 800 members of staff across the network.

It also comes as Tube unions threaten to strike over the cuts.

Asked about the Mayor's comments today a spokesperson said:

"This Mayor takes his promises to Londoners extremely seriously. Every station that has a ticket office will continue to have one.”

Even if there's nobody actually in them...

-Update- Read the full list of closures here


Tom said...

"# Earls Court (Warwich Road)"

Warwick Road. Essentially, at stations with two or more ticket offices, usually they're shutting the spares. Not much use if you're on the Warwick Road side of Earls Court (which serves the Exhibition Centre) and your Oyster refuses to work the barriers - it's a long way round to the front, by which time it might have shut anyway, since the opening hours are reduced there.

Boris's spokestoad gets away with linguistic murder here - what they mean is 'continue to have one, just not necessarily where you need it to be or when you need it be'.

AdamB said...

Yes sorry Warwick not Warwich. My typo.

Under the plans the remaining office at Earls Court will also have it's hours reduced from 0600-0000 to 0645-2045.

Many more will close earlier than that.

Anonymous said...

Boris is showing himself to be every bit the arrogant, lying, sleazeball that Livingtone was. He's "gone native"

currentbuns said...

Charing Cross (Trafalgar) is another spare ticket office as it's only open between 1-6pm.

Clearly the ticket office next to the National Rail station will stay open, but I expect that'll have it's hours cut, something which would be bad as it's left to the LUL staff to resolve problems with Oyster PAYG from mainline passengers.

AdamB said...

If the Oyster system was more reliable it wouldn't be such a problem. I've had two faulty cards in a row recently though.

diamond geezer said...

Closing the ticket office at Monument, on the basis that you can always buy a ticket at Bank, seems particularly devious.

currentbuns said...

I travel on the Hammersmith and City/Circle line for work and already Royal Oak's ticket office is only open during the morning peak, while the newest station on the line Wood Lane doesn't even have a ticket office as White City is up the road.

My local station Forest Hill has already been transfered to TfL management via it's London Overground (LOROL) company in preparation for the East London Line extension, it concerns me that this could cut back on ticket office staffing with the increased use of Oyster via the self-service machines when the card/equipment work properly.

AdamB said...

There appears to be some confusion about the inclusion of Monument on the list. I'm told that TfL are now saying that it was a "mistake" and shouldn't be on there.

Anonymous said...

Clearly the tourist economy is not important any more. How do you explain to a foreign visitor that they must leave Trafalgar Square, walk across horrendous road junctions to Charing Cross, find the entrance to the tube and only then can you exercise your privilege to buy a ticket. Many tourists take a taxi to their hotel, especially when travelling long distance and then start out for their first experience to a tube station like Trafalgar Square. Are they going to issue free oyster cards at Heathrow etc.

Similarly arrive at St Pancras and want to take the tube from Eurostar arrivals, tough you'll have to wait till we feel like opening up a ticket office.

What was that? Welcome to London.

Anonymous said...

"Boris is showing himself to be every bit the arrogant, lying, sleazeball that Livingtone was. He's 'gone native'."

Livingstone was nothing of the sort. Stop talking out of your bottom.

If one thing's certain, it's that the press will hardly cover this story at all. They refuse to give Johnson the drubbing he deserves.

- Mellie

AdamB said...

It was the lead story on BBC London. The Standard splashed on some nonsense story about "Internet rehab" instead.

Anonymous said...

Having looked at this full list it does raise a lot of questions. Apart from those stations with no ticket office, many others will now only be open for a few hours.

Will the barriers be left open to allow access. If not will the other staff in the station be allowed to sell tickets? Will they have a pass ticket you can take to prove your starting point and pay in full on arrival at your destination? Some of the outlying stations do not have a shop which might be able to sell an oyster card when the ticket office is closed.

Is there a plan, if so what is it? What other staffing is going to be available on these stations?

Anonymous said...

Tom, your Oyster won't work the gate at Warwick you need to walk miles

Classic case of jumping to the conclusion that matches the prejudice. It doesn't say anywhere that there are no staff there just no one selling tickets.

In my experience there's no one there to buy them, so what's the beef

Richard said...

"In my experience there's no one there to buy them, so what's the beef"

So you spend all your days at the station on the lookout for someone seeking to buy a ticket do you? Sad life if you do.

ooks more like you're guilty of the same offence you accuse others. Jumping to conclusions on the basis of very weak evidence. Poor show al round.