|London Underground to Close Local Ticket Offices|
Automated sales or Oyster only at selected stations
London Underground has announced that it plans to close 40 ticket offices including those at Chiswick Park, East Putney, North Ealing, Ravenscourt Park and West Acton with unions claiming this will lead to the loss of 240 jobs.
London Underground say the stations have been selected because the number of tickets purchased from the offices is low. Their spokesman said, “Due to the success of Oyster, less than 3 per cent of single and return journeys are now being bought using cash at ticket offices on stations. We will only reduce ticket office service at stations where customer demand for these services is very low and there will still be a service at stations where there is a strong need for it. Any changes will only take place after 350 new Oyster-compatible self-service ticket machines are introduced."
According to www.workersliberty.org, London Underground is also planning to reduce a number of ticket office opening hours, including Shepherd's Bush on Sundays.
The move is believed to be part of a campaign to oblige commuters and tourists to use Oyster cards. A similar scheme has been implemented in Paris where stations are refurbished, extra ticket machines installed and the ticket office becomes an information point.
Activist Janine Booth has set up an online petition at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/tubetickets/
These station ticket offices will close in 2008. All London Underground stations will continue to be staffed when the station is open. London Underground say they will be redeploying staff from ticket offices to other roles on stations, on platforms and in ticket halls. They do anticipate that the number of station staff will decline but that they will not be reducing headcount because of the need to increase recruitment in other areas such as drivers.
June 5, 2007