"Plans To Scrap Ticket Counter Will Make Stations Less Safe"

Local MP Condemns Mayor's "Crazy" Proposals To Close Ticket Offices

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Local MP Greg Hands, has condemned a “crazy” plan by Ken Livingstone to close ticket counters at local tube stations.

The Mayor of London proposes to close ticket offices at Chiswick Park, East Putney, North Ealing, Ravenscourt Park and West Acton and, on Sundays, Shepherd's Bush station on the Hammersmith & City line. The closures are part of a London wide plan which may lead to a growing number of tube stations become entirely staff-free.

Greg commented “It now appears that some local stations will be entirely unmanned. The number one priority at Underground stations should be safety and security. Having completely unmanned ticket offices will surely lead to an increase in anti social behaviour”

Greg said “At a time when the local council is investing more money and resources in policing this is an invitation to hooligans to target local tube stations”

The shock news comes just months after some local underground stations in were accredited as ‘safer’ under the Secure Station Scheme. Stations remain accredited for two years, after which a further application is made for reaccredidation.

Greg added “It seems madness that when local underground stations only recently achieved adequate safety status that Livingstone is jeopardising that status by cutting station staff”

However, London Underground say the stations have been selected because the number of tickets purchased from the offices is low. Their spokesman said, “Due to the success of Oyster, less than 3 per cent of single and return journeys are now being bought using cash at ticket offices on stations. We will only reduce ticket office service at stations where customer demand for these services is very low and there will still be a service at stations where there is a strong need for it. Any changes will only take place after 350 new Oyster-compatible self-service ticket machines are introduced."

These station ticket offices will close in 2008. All London Underground stations will continue to be staffed when the station is open. London Underground say they will be redeploying staff from ticket offices to other roles on stations, on platforms and in ticket halls. They do anticipate that the number of station staff will decline but that they will not be reducing headcount because of the need to increase recruitment in other areas such as drivers.

June 7, 2007