Local Stations Included in Ticket Office Cull

Proposal to close all facilities on South Western Railway network

Proposed closures are part of a larger series of changes across England. Picture: London TravelWatch


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July 7, 2023

The list of stations to lose their ticket offices as part of proposals for a mass closure across England includes every local stop on the South Western Railways (SWR) network.

Stations such as Chiswick, Brentford, Putney and Wandsworth Town may no longer have counters where passengers can purchase tickets although it is being promised that station staff will be on hand to sell them.

Proposed SWR ticket office closures locally include:

Barnes, Brentford, Chiswick, Clapham Junction, Earlsfield, London Waterloo, Putney, Raynes Park, Richmond (London), Wandsworth Town, Wimbledon.

Brentford and Chiswick stations have been put in Category 3 which means that station staffing levels will be similar to existing ticket office opening hours.

Stations such as London Waterloo, Clapham Junction, Wimbledon, Richmond and Putney would now have a 24-hour presence of station staff.

In addition, the Southern Rail stations proposed for closure include Wandsworth Common and Battersea Park.

On Great Western Railways there are no closures planned but there could be reduced opening hours at some stations.

Proposed Changes for Selected Stations

Day Current ticket office opening hours Proposed station staffing hours
Monday 6:15am - 10:15am Unstaffed
Tuesday 6:15am - 10:15am 6:00am - 10:00am
Wednesday 6:15am - 10:15am 6:00am - 10:00am
Thursday 6:15am - 10:15am 6:00am - 10:00am
Friday 6:15am - 10:15am 6:00am - 10:00am
Saturday Unstaffed 9:00am - 1:00pm
Sunday Unstaffed Unstaffed

Day Current ticket office opening hours Proposed station staffing hours
Monday 6:30am - 10:30am 6:00am - 10:00am
Tuesday 6:30am - 10:30am 6:00am - 10:00am
Wednesday 6:30am - 10:30am 6:00am - 10:00am
Thursday 6:30am - 10:30am 6:00am - 10:00am
Friday 6:30am - 10:30am Unstaffed
Saturday Unstaffed Unstaffed
Sunday Unstaffed 9:00am - 1:00pm

Wandsworth Town
Day Current ticket office opening hours Proposed station staffing hours
Monday 6:40am - 11:00am 6:00am - 10:00pm
Tuesday 6:40am - 11:00am 6:00am - 10:00pm
Wednesday 6:40am - 11:00am 6:00am - 10:00pm
Thursday 6:40am - 11:00am 6:00am - 10:00pm
Friday 6:40am - 11:00am 6:00am - 10:00pm
Saturday Unstaffed 8:00am - 10:00pm
Sunday Unstaffed 9:00am - 7:00pm

SWR says it has made the proposals to ‘modernise the railway and bring it more in line with modern consumer expectations.’

It continues “Over the past decade, we have seen significantly reduced usage of ticket offices as customers move to alternative, more convenient ways of buying tickets.”

It says that 75% of journeys are made using contactless, Oyster, Tap2Go, SWR Touch Smartcards, eTickets and of the 12% of tickets bought at ticket offices nation-wide last year, an estimated 99% could have been bought using a ticket vending machine or online. Before the advent of the smartphone, 85% of tickets were sold over the counter in the station.

SWR say it will transition our station staff to new ‘multi-skilled roles’ and create a single team on each station to help passengers and it pledges to continue to meet all its commitments on providing accessibility for passengers, including passengers with reduced mobility and people requiring in-person assistance.

A statement from the Rail Delivery Group which represents all the Train Operating Companies says to the consultation, “It is being launched against the backdrop of long-running industrial action by rail unions RMT and ASLEF over changes necessary to bring the railway up to date and make it sustainable in the long term, with revenue continuing to languish at 30% below pre-pandemic levels. As RMT talks stalled due to their refusal to put a pay and jobs guarantee offer to its membership, train companies must now move ahead with essential reforms to bring the industry in line with the modern retailing, while maintaining valuable staff contact for customers.

“Companies are committed to smoothing the transition of moving staff closer to customers, and the proposed changes would be phased in gradually. An estimated 99% of all transactions made at ticket offices last year can be made at Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) or online and where needed, TVMs across the network will be improved and upgraded. Ticket office facilities will remain open at the busiest stations and interchanges, selling the full range of tickets while the transition takes place. Following these changes, if a customer is unable to buy a specific ticket before boarding the train because it was unavailable at the station, they would be able to buy one during their journey, at a ticket office en-route, or at their destination.

“Alongside the public consultation on ticket offices, a range of options will be created for staff affected, including moving to a new skilled role and comprehensive re-training and re-skilling. Train companies will continue to engage constructively with unions at a local level to manage the transition in a way that works best for staff. “

Responses to the consultation are being handled by London TravelWatch, the independent transport user watchdog. It says it will use this feedback to formally respond to the rail industry about the proposals.

Passengers with comments about any of the changes, should get in touch by Wednesday 26 July and make it clear which station they are commenting on.

As part of this consultation process, London Travelwatch will look into whether the proposed changes will impact passengers' ability to buy a ticket, the level of staff presence at stations and operators’ ability to deliver services for Disabled passengers.

Michael Roberts, Chief Executive for London TravelWatch, said, “Your voice as a passenger is fundamental to this whole process. We’re urging you to check your local station for details on how to feed back your views, either by email or in writing.”

To have your say you need to contact it by Wednesday 26 July.

Email your response to: swr.consultation@londontravelwatch.org.uk

Or write to:

London TravelWatch
PO Box 5594

Brentford & Isleworth MP Ruth Cadbury said on social media, “I will be taking part in the consultation & writing to both SWR & the Department for Transport about this.

“These closures will have a huge impact on both passengers & rail staff locally.

“I fear it's yet another step forward in the managed decline of our railways.

“Staffed ticket offices help people get the best deal, can help those who don't have a bank account (200K+ plus in London) & provide support, safety and assistance for passengers.”

A spokeswoman for the Mayor of London said, “It is essential that the full implications of rail ticket office closures are considered and that passenger groups and the workforce – through its trade unions – are consulted.

“Millions of commuters use London’s rail stations daily, and everything possible must be done to ensure all passengers feel safe and able to access the assistance and information they need.”

Stations without ticket offices already make up 43% of those operating across the UK, with a further 40% being staffed part-time.

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