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RMT launches campaign to stop closures of London Overground ticket offices

The RMT has launched a campaign to prevent the closure of 51 London Overground ticket offices.

Arriva Rail London, which runs Transport for London’s (TfL) overground services, is planning to shut down 51 stations across the London Overground network as the company places more importance on ticket machines.

Unions say the move will displace staff, and the RMT and the TSSA have jointly produced a report which highlights the importance of ticket office and station staff.

The rail union will be hosting a day of action on the 3 October, leafleting stations with campaign postcards after a formal consultation on the closures was launched.

The RMT says that if the changes go ahead, passengers might not be able to access all tickets and services from a ticket machine, find it harder obtain advice on tickets and fares, and find an insufficient numbers of ticket machines.

They also say that disabled, elderly and vulnerable passengers might struggle with using ticket machines and be deterred from traveling or end up overspending.

RMT general secretary Mike Cash said: “I am calling on Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to oppose this retrograde plan for wholesale closures in the strongest possible terms. Ticket offices play a crucial role at train stations.

“London needs to welcome its passengers, visitors and tourists not with a machine, but a welcoming and friendly ticket office who can provide a full range of services.

“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.”

The consultation on the closures is open until 11 October, and RMT have encouraged people to write or email in protest.

They say the proposed closures are “damaging and detrimental cuts” which will “limit the quality and range of services available to passengers.”

Managing director of Arriva, Will Rogers, said: “We have been working closely with trade unions on this programme, including undertaking a joint station-by-station review.

“Ticket issuing data indicates that only 5% of transactions are through ticket offices. These results have informed proposals aimed at meeting the needs of our customers both today and in the future.”

Back in 2016, Sadiq Khan commissioned the London TravelWatch to review ticket office closures on the London Underground.

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

London TravelWatch’s review said that ticket office closures were free to be implemented, but urgent new measures were needed to address key areas such as passenger safety.

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 Lauren Hurley/PA Wire/PA Images


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