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Watchdog forced to postpone closure of London Overground ticket offices after ‘unprecedented and overwhelming’ response

The closure of 51 London Overground ticket offices has been put on hold by London TravelWatch after a campaign by the RMT union.

The watchdog was forced to temporarily suspended the plans after they received over 7,500 objections from passengers, which it described as “unprecedented and overwhelming.”

The RMT union launched a campaign last month to stop the closures of the ticket offices, and hailed an “initial victory” after TravelWatch received 3,400 online survey responses, 959 emails, 2,063 postcards, and 31 written submissions.

The TravelWatch board has deferred the post-consultation decision until further analysis of the correspondence had been carried out.

Arriva Rail London, which runs TfL’s overground services, has plans to close 51 ticket offices across the London network as the company wants to place more importance on ticket machines.

But the controversial decision led to TravelWatch receiving petitions from community groups, and further submissions from MPs, local authorities, councillors and London Assembly members.

The RMT said the move would displace staff and make it harder for passengers to access tickets and obtain advice on tickets.

London TravelWatch has deferred “a decision on this item until further analysis of the questionnaire and other correspondence used in the consultation has been completed.”

General secretary Mick Cash said the RMT welcomed the decision and that TravelWatch had “been forced to recognise the force of feeling” on the matter.

He said: “This is by no means the end of the matter but shows that the campaign is winning and we will now be stepping up the pressure to secure a total reversal of the closure plans.

“In the light of today’s events I call on the mayor of London Sadiq Khan to recognise the strength of feeling over the issue and oppose this retrograde plan for wholesale closures in the strongest possible terms. Ticket offices play a crucial role at train stations.”

He continued: “This is just the latest attack on a properly staffed, safe, secure and accessible railway for all and RMT is determined to halt these plans in their tracks. We thank the travelling public for their huge support for this important campaign which has clearly had a big impact.”

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Image credit -  Yui Mok/PA Archive/PA Images


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