TfL Considering Closing All Tube Station Ticket Offices

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 54 months ago
TfL Considering Closing All Tube Station Ticket Offices

ticketmachines_120813The Evening Standard has got hold of a Transport for London document that suggests closing the ticket office at every single tube station and replacing them with around 20 large 'travel centres', in a bid to save money.

TfL got hit by a £220m cut in its government grant for 2015-16 during the June spending review, and closing all ticket offices is apparently one way TfL thinks it can fill the hole. This isn't the first time the idea's been mooted: Boris Johnson reversed similar plans by Ken Livingstone in 2008. Reduced opening hours across the network were introduced in 2011.

Increased use of ticket machines means ticket offices are being used less and less, but they're still necessary for when the damn thing stops working, runs out of change or won't sell you a travelcard for the time period you want because your Oyster card is so old you didn't register it when you got it and that's a necessity now (this last one may be from our personal experience).

TfL also believes that closing ticket offices gets staff out from behind glass and onto the gateline; which in one way is sensible, but equally, a manned ticket office is the one place you know you can find someone if you need help. The TSSA union estimates such closures could mean the loss of 2,000 jobs, though TfL won't make a firm comment either way.

This idea of big 'travel centres' (presumably in the main stations; the ES cites Waterloo, Euston and King's Cross) is just another in the trend for closing local services and centralising or amalgamating them: Post Offices going into WH Smiths, local police front counters into your neighbourhood coffee shop, your local A&E turned into an Urgent Care Centre. It saves money but is more frustrating for the people made to travel further and queue longer.

We could point to the amount of money TfL is losing on the cable car and cycle hire, partly down to sponsorship deals that offer much for the sponsor but not as much as you'd expect for TfL; or how each health and safety officer on the New Bus for London costs £62k a year, and wonder whether some of that could be redirected into keeping at least some ticket offices as a basic public service. But looking back at how often this crops up, we suspect it's something TfL has been wanting to implement for some time.

Photo by Luica Mak from the Londonist Flickr pool.

Last Updated 12 August 2013

Dean Nicholas

"won’t sell you a travelcard for the time period you want because your
Oyster card is so old you didn’t register it when you got it and that’s a
necessity now (this last one may be from our personal experience)."

I got a new Oyster card recently and had to line up at the ticket office to register it for monthly travelcard. Not a huge annoyance but would've been irritating if I'd had to travel into one of these "travel centres".

Tfoff

Replace all ticket staff with machines. What do you do when the machine breaks down? Travel for free?? Then we will get people deliberately braking them to obtain free travel - great way to save money TFL. Fantastic *slow claps*

will

"We could point to the amount of money TfL is losing on the cable car and cycle hire, partly down to sponsorship deals that offer much for the sponsor but not as much as you’d expect for TfL"

How can a sponsorship deal be bad for TfL? Even it it was bringing in £50, that would be a positive on their balance sheet, no?

Jon Millwood

This generally isn't an awful idea but it would be good if ticket machines could do more, I always find it strange you can't print out your Oyster history at a machine. Also some kind of automated refund on Oyster cards.
The only other reason I visit a ticket window is to have the Gold Card (railcard) discount added to my Oyster, if this could be done online too it would be simpler.

Ciaran

I had to visit the ticket office twice in the last month for overcharging on my oyster. What happens if there are no kiosks. No refunds, without a lot of extra hassle.