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Modernisation of LU continues

TfL has announced that from today South Wimbledon and Queensway stations will operate without ticket windows, as part of controversial plans to ‘modernise’ the Underground. 

The stations will see changes to the layout of their ticket halls and ‘improvements’ to ticket machines so they are easier to use and allow many more transactions, some of which are currently only possible at ticket offices. 

As part of the phased programme, TfL said that, station by station, staff will now move to ticket halls, gate lines and platforms to offer assistance to customers where it is “needed most”. 

Before the latest editions to the programme, Cannon Street, Embankment, Regent’s Park, Tottenham Court Road and Wood Lane were operating without ticket windows. Between now and April 2016 it is expected that all of London Underground’s remaining stations will be transformed. 

However, the move has not come without concerns being raised. Mick Cash, general secretary of the very vocal RMT union, said: “Today is the day when ‎mayor Boris Johnson not only rips up his promise to Londoners to retain ticket offices but also rips up the safety rule book and kicks off a closure and de-staffing programme that will turn the tube into a criminals' paradise. 

Cash added that the union will continue to work with the community to stop a programme that “takes out a thousand jobs and every single ticket office and all industrial and political options remain at our disposal”. 

But TfL claims that the plans will save will save £50m per year, and £270m in total up to 2020-2021 alone. It added that these are net savings and take into account “one off” implementation costs and voluntary redundancies. 

Nick Brown, LU’s chief operating officer, added that throughout this year, passengers will see further improvements at stations, including more staff in ticket halls, on gate lines and platforms, where they can offer the best possible assistance. 

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