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Ticket Office: Unused and unwanted? Not at all

TfL’s figures on the proportion of journeys starting at the ticket office equates to a staggering 30 million+ passengers served last year. Whilst small as a proportion of journeys, this is a vast number of people to be withdrawing a service from.

Many of these customers have complex queries, are unfamiliar with London or uneasy with using a machine.

TfL claim that technological change means that ticket offices can be entirely abolished, yet ticket vending machines are nothing new. London Underground has always previously offered customers a choice, with a clear source of help available to those unable to use a machine. Withdrawing this will hit the most vulnerable the hardest and will no doubt have an adverse effect on visitors to the capital who do not understand how the system works.

Will it still be easy to find help under the plans?

London Underground are trying to suggest staff will be more accessible but this will depend massively on the station and the time of day.

A ticket office is clearly visible and whilst we might not like queues, they’re the most efficient way to see people. Finding a table-equiped staff member in a packed rush-hour ticket hall, then competing for their attention with other members of the crowd will prove no easy task. Doing so as an elderly or disabled passenger or even just someone of slightly below-average height may make for an extremely difficult and off-putting task in peak hours.

Ticket offices remain a highly visible and efficient place to seek assistance. Attempts to claim that having almost a thousand fewer workers is merely a redeployment to improve the visibility of staff and not a cut is clearly just another attempt at spin.

What about a 24-hour tube?

TSSA is not opposed to a 24 hour tube - but nor are TfL proposing one. A service four times an hour during Friday and Saturday nights is being suggested but with little detail of how this might be operated safely.

TfL say just 150 jobs will be saved if this gets the go ahead. With well over 100 stations on the proposed 'Night Tube' network, it is unclear how serious their plan is, given the potential for large buildups of inebriated passengers waiting for 15 minutes at central London stations.

We remain deeply suspicious of whether it will be cost effective and if the loss of overnight engineering hours will actually mean more delays for the public through the rest of the week.

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