Khan commissions London TravelWatch to review Tube ticket office closures

London TravelWatch is to conduct an independent review into the ticket office closures on the London Underground network.

The review, beginning on 12 September, will last for six weeks and consider whether the office closures allow passengers to travel safely, purchase the right ticket easily, and access information and support.

The review was a manifesto pledge by Khan as part of his campaign to reform London’s transport network.

Khan said: “As promised in my manifesto, I’m pleased that London Travel Watch will carry out an independent review into the impact of ticket office closures, looking at the concerns individuals and groups have raised.

“Millions of Londoners use stations across our transport network every day, and it’s vital that everyone feels safe and gets the right support and information they need when they travel around our city.”

Khan said that, following the launch of London’s Night Tube, it was particularly important to ensure that passengers feel safe at quiet stations at night and that disabled passengers receive proper assistance.

The London mayor recently ordered Transport for London (TfL) to ensure that at least 50% of any development on a site near Kidbrooke station, which is due to be sold, is affordable housing. But Cllr Keith Prince, the London assembly transport spokesperson for the Conservatives, accused him of “bankrupting” TfL.

This week, Khan also announced the appointment of a new TfL board, which he said would “reflect London’s diversity”. The new board members are 57% female, 29% black and minority ethnic and 13% disabled.

Stephen Locke, chair of London TravelWatch, said: “We are delighted that the mayor has commissioned us to carry out an independent review of London Underground’s ticket office changes. The ability to buy tickets and get easy access to information are fundamental issues for passengers. We will be taking a detailed look at how well the system is working and whether it can be improved for commuters, occasional travellers and visitors to London.

“It is vital that the changes work for everyone so we will also look at whether the system can be improved for passengers with disabilities or other specific needs.”

London TravelWatch is also backing Khan’s offer for TfL to take over the troubled Southern rail franchise from its current operators Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which was dismissed last week by transport secretary Chris Grayling.

The closures have led to ongoing disputes with trade unions. Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT, said: “RMT welcomes this review but it must look in detail at the safety risks unleashed by the reduction of 800 frontline staff as part of the ticket offices closure programme and the serious issues raised by the union about the impact on stations and station control rooms.”

RMT recently suspended a planned strike on the GTR network in protest at ticket office closures.

(Image c. TfL)

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Jerry Alderson   09/09/2016 at 13:36

I'm strongly against glass windows between passengers and staff, and I'm in favour of locating staff where passengers are, not making passengers have to go to the staff. Having only used a LUL ticket window twice in 20 years it was little use to me but it is important to have a real understanding of passenger needs and experiences (including groups such as disabled travellers) before rolling it out nationwide. My experience of using station hosts at Oxford Parkway and Bicester Village has been extremently positive.

Andrew Gwilt   09/09/2016 at 15:01

Its quite sad to see most ticket booths and kiosks at tube stations across Greater London that are closing as the staff would of lost their jobs or kept their jobs as the ticket offices are closed and ticket machines have taken over.

Jon   09/09/2016 at 17:43

Staff aren't losing their jobs, Andrew, they're being transferred to other frontline roles.

Peter Young   09/09/2016 at 22:45

No one was forced to leave but nearly 1000 jobs have been cut through voluntary redundancy

Ian Morris   10/09/2016 at 12:17

The review needs to consider the needs of tourists more than anything. With London being such a huge tourist destination and the complexity of Transport for London's overall network and services compared to most cities, tourists need to be able to deal with a person rather than a machine.

Andrew Gwilt   11/09/2016 at 23:03

@Jon So staff haven't lost their jobs but been transferred to frontline roles.

Gabriel Oaks   12/09/2016 at 08:03

Whilst I can see a need for changing to the present arrangements the closure of ticket offices at some of London's major termini may have been a step to far given the number of visitors arriving at London; certainly a review here ought to be undertaken even if this validates the decision. However, like may other visitors travelling into London I simply purchase a travelcard.

Martin   12/09/2016 at 15:36

Every other major European city I have been to did not have ticket when I have visited. Was it problem, no, because the ticket machines are designed easy to use and understand. By having staff in a more visible role they can help passengers in a greater capacity, and if needed, assist on using ticket machines. That would provide a greater level of interaction and service than I have seen in other cities.

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