All Tube Ticket Offices To Close, But Trains To Run 24Hr On Weekends


Transport for London has announced a massive shake-up of the tube. Trains will run 24 hours at weekends, but all manned ticket offices will close with the loss of 750 jobs. The changes will come in for 2015.

The ticket offices news leaked over summer as one idea to plug the hole left by a cut in TfL’s central government grant. The increased use of Oyster and automated machines means ticket offices are being used less, and TfL wants to get staff out from behind the glass and into the general station space.

TfL says all stations will continue to be staffed, and we hope they make it clear where we’re supposed to find someone to help if the ticket machine breaks / the gates don’t read our Oyster / we have one of any number of myriad problems, as at the moment if the ticket office is closed we can often find ourselves standing around stumped. There will be six “customer points” at major tourist entry points (Euston, Heathrow T1, 2, 3, King’s Cross, Liverpool Street, Paddington and Victoria) though whether we’ll all have to use these to do things like register a new Oyster card, or whether ticket stops will be upgraded to do more, we’re not sure. Stations like Bank, Leicester Square and Oxford Circus will get more staff.

The RMT has called the cuts “lethal” and promises industrial action. TfL says there will be no compulsory redundancies and anyone “ready to be flexible” will have a job.

The cuts are being packaged with sweeteners for us, the travelling public. We’ll be able to use the Piccadilly, Victoria, Central, Jubilee and parts of the Northern line all Friday and Saturday nights, contactless bank card payment is being rolled out next year, ticket machines will be able to give refunds and (joy of joys!) if you forget to swipe out Oyster will calculate your most likely journey and charge accordingly rather than whack on the maximum fare. All underground stations will get wifi by the end of 2014 and there are plans to make 27 more tube and Overground stations step-free over the next eight years.

Photo by Hartwell Photography from the Londonist Flickr pool

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  • wayneb1

    The local, everyday Tube user may be able to handle this change, though for visitors – especially foreigners unfamiliar with the system, the locations and even the English language – this looks to be a massive challenge. Even for a visitor like me, someone who has used the Tube annually over the past 30+ years, it will likely have its WTF moments. But onward we must go…

    • Jon Millwood

      But if a member of staff is available next to the ticket machines (which can usually be switched to a preferred language too) then should be just as easy as a ticket office.

    • aahad2003

      have the same attitude when the prices keep going up..’WTF..but onwards we go..’

  • Anon

    All night trains is brilliant news. I feel sorry for the people who have lost their jobs though.

    • Caspar Aremi

      No one is losing their jobs. Non-compulsary redundancies, i.e. not replacing people who retire or quit.

      • Dave K

        Tfl quote: “anyone ‘ready to be flexible’ will have a job” – basically means ‘you have to go where we send you’, hardly a pleasant way of dealing with dedicated staff.

        • Randeep

          But everyone needs to have some flexibility as Job’s do evolve over time.

          So its down to Tfl to do this right…

    • Happy londener!

      shady taxi drivers are fucked!

  • Beau Edwards

    Bob Crow will once again be showing his lovely face on our TV screens over this, YAY!

    • Stella

      sad thing about democracies is dissenting voices have a right to be heard. You sound like you’d be happier if Bob Crow was taken out and shot.

      • Beau Edwards

        Yeah you’ve perfectly captured the spirit of my post. All about executions

        • Stella

          you explain what you meant then….

          • Beau Edwards

            The man is one note and relishes any opportunity to get his mug on the telly to play that one note

          • Stella

            the man represents his members who keep voting him in.. that is a democracy. You seem unhappy with it.

          • Beau Edwards

            You keep trying to put words in my mouth. Maybe you should just comment on what I’m saying rather than your misguided interpretations.

          • Stella

            What rot!! You express distaste for the democratic freedoms we have and i made the obvious inferences, that’s all.

          • Beau Edwards

            Show me one instance where I have said anything of the sort? I expressed my distaste for one rather loathsome individual and you have made me out to be some anti-democratic anarchist. Searching for demons that don’t exist.

          • Stella

            I am an anarchist.. you clearly aren’t one.. anarchists like democracy.

            Your use of the word “loathsome” as if you personal and bigoted viewpoint is a valid contribution to this debate clearly vindicates me.

            Your use of ad hominems just undermine anything you might try to say.

            Instead of childishly insulting the elected leader of those affected by these cuts, try engaging with what he has to say.

            If you bandy around insults the way you do to people you disagree with, I only hope that you are perfection iteself.

          • Beau Edwards

            Maybe you should try searching for a definition of anarchy

          • The Grammarchist

            you spelt ‘itself’ wrong

  • Michael Hajioannou

    As usual, this is not as bad as the RMT wil make out. Move along please

    • Ellie

      The loss of 750 jobs seems pretty terrible to me! Anyone else?

      • Jon Millwood

        But no one is losing their jobs. Non-compulsary redundancies, i.e. not replacing people who retire or quit.

        • Rachel Holdsworth

          Well, that’s the plan. But even so, it’s also 750 fewer jobs available for Londoners who would otherwise have replaced the leavers/retirees.

  • Martin Eriksson

    I don’t think you understand what 24/7 means…

    • Rachel Holdsworth

      Yes, someone on Facebook just pointed that out as well! Blame it on writing the headline before we’d had the press release in.

      • Stella

        amend to 24/2 :-p

  • Caspar Aremi

    “whether we’ll all have to use these to do things like register a new Oyster card”

    Part of the announcement was phasing out Oyster and instead your contactless bank card will be used. You’ll be able to attach travel cards to it. They don’t want to deal with charging and holding balances when they don’t need to.

    “at the moment if the ticket office is closed we can often find ourselves standing around stumped”

    I really don’t think I’ve ever seen a ticket barrier without at least one member of staff standing at one end to help people with problems? And under these changes, more staff will be out with customers rather than just having them stuck in ticket booths.

    • Ellie

      What will happen to using cash-loaded Oysters?

      • Caspar Aremi

        That’s why they’re getting rid of it. Instead you’ll just use your debit card and pay the same fare directly from your bank account, instead of topping up.

        • Ellie

          what about if you don’t have a bank account?

          • Małgosia Pea Tyczyńska

            … or you have a bank account and do not wish to have contactless debit card or your card got stolen? (it takes some time to get a new one). Or you don’t have anything on your bank account and only have some cash towards the end of the month?
            For me as a passenger oyster, which can be easily replaced and can be topped-up by as little as £10-20 is a much better solution.

          • tj


    • RichSpalding

      Have you got a source for this info? I can’t see it on the BBC link in this article. I suspect that completely getting rid of oyster within a year would cause issues whilst both tourists and residents might not have access to contactless debit card systems.

      • Michael Jennings

        Nobody is suggesting Oyster will be phased out any time soon. Use of contactless credit cards and debit cards as an alternative to Oyster (as exists already on buses) is going to be offered as an alternative to Oyster. This is a big step forward.

  • marina

    but why not the district line?!

  • Angel

    Finally!! I can’t believe it took them half a century to figure out that we need the tube at night… specially on weekends…

    • Stella

      need? or want? I live in south east London where there is no tube and I seem to get by just fine at weekends… the night buses are pretty good these days.

  • Ruth S

    I hope tube stations don’t end up like train stations, no one there to help you and completely confusing!

    • Stella

      look at DLR stations. That’s how the tube will be eventually – with driverless trains to follow. One day there will be one woman in a room running the whole tube… but no-one will want to use it cos there’ll be no jobs either :-p

  • Michael Hajioannou

    Now someone needs to get on to Southern and Southeastern and the rest and tell them that us South East Londoners need the overground trains to run all night at the weekends too. Somethig tells me that will be a bit of a tough task though!

  • NYCDude

    I lived in London for 5 years and I remember that most of the ticket office staff were miserable. Wouldn’t you be if you had to sit in that cage and deal with the public? So good riddance to them. In NYC we have lost most of the ticket booth staff. I imagine the tourists may miss them but certainly not the locals.

    • Stella

      good riddance to you!!!

  • Anthony Denny

    Given that my Oyster card has broken 3 times this year with my annual travelcard on it, and I would be completely stuck without being able to go to an office and get it fixed, I’m not sure this is brilliant news, and given that last time I did this all 3 ticket booths at Brixton were being used by people with faulty Oyster cards, I dont think I’m alone.

  • andybrice

    In over two decades of living in London. I’m pretty sure I’ve never actually used a ticket office on the tube.

    • Dave H

      I think that, right now, ticket offices are the only places that can process a Customer Charter Refund voucher (although I’ve always thought that this was a deliberate ploy by TfL, making it as awkward as possible for people to actually get their hands on refunds).

  • andybrice

    I welcome the 24-hour service at weekends. But if they try and pressure staff into working night-shifts reluctantly, for once I’ll be fully supportive of any strikes.

    • Andrew

      Strikes accomplish nothing, if anything they’re regressive. Just the grown up version of a temper tantrum.
      (Yes, I am replying a year too late :/ )

  • gvdgirl

    What about the fact that some cards aren’t accepted if you’re putting anything over a certain amount on your Oyster card? I am an American grad student in London, but don’t have a UK bank account. Every time I top up my Oyster card, I have to do so at a ticket office. I suppose they will expect people who can’t top up on a machine to go to the other locations where cards can be topped up, such as convenience stores. That’s all well and good, but the average tourist might not know that that’s a possibility. Perhaps that’s one of the issues the wandering staff will be able to help with. Though if you don’t realize you’re out until you try swiping your card, it’ll be hugely inconvenient to run out of the station to the nearest convenience store to top up when you can just do it now at a ticket office. I hope it works well. I love the idea that some tubes will run all night on weekends.

  • Kay

    Love it, in fact we shouldve had the 24 hour service years ago, but it kept getting delayed. Barcelona’s metro had it years ago based on a model initially set out for the tube. Anyways, good news and hopefully will pave the way to a proper 21st century all round the clock tube, which lets be honest, London needs to stay competitive with places like NYC and the far east.

  • Lisa London

    I’m sure those who live close to a tube line (like me) can’t wait to be kept awake all night during the weekend… Absolutely stupid idea.

  • Dee

    where do we buy oyster cards then? And how soon will these cuts be put in action? I think this will be difficult for the tourist unless staff is very clearly marked at entrances to stations.

  • Indivijewelistic

    Most of the tube lines have at least one flights of stairs before you reach the ticket office so, in terms of safety, you would be safer if someone is on the platform rather than in the office. I went to NY and I didn’t see anyone on the transport network. I still managed to by a ticket and travel where I wanted to go. I lived in central London throughout my teenage years and early 20s and would have loved that I could get home on the tube after the clubs close, rather than waiting for the night bus!

  • Helen

    Amazing idea! No one need rude staff on the station. The level of customer service is extremely low anyway. All the staff that takes part in tube strikes should get salary deduction. I think they just being selfish, why should all London suffer?