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By Amie Keeley
Friday, August 23, 2013
MP for Hampstead and Kilburn Glenda Jackson has hit out at leaked plans which could see ticket offices disappear from Camden’s stations.
King’s Cross St Pancras
London Overground stations:
Finchley Road & Frognal
Kewntish Town West
Ms Jackson said her constituency, which has London Underground and Overground stations, would be particularly badly affected if plans to close 268 Tube ticket offices across the capital go ahead.
Some 15 London Underground stations and six stations serving the London Overground could be affected in Hampstead and Highgate.
The MP has raised concerns over safety if no staff are available to assist in emergencies.
The criticism comes after the TSSA transport union and the Labour party claimed to have seen a confidential Transport for London (TfL) document listing all stations on the network with the question, “Ticket offices staying open?”. Alongside the answer to each one states no.
Instead, passengers will have to use automatic machines.
It is also claimed that up to 6,000 jobs could be lost as a result.
TfL says it is committed to having staff at all stations in future but could not confirm if this applied specifically to ticket offices.
Ms Jackson said children and elderly passengers would be left feeling vulnerable.
“These shocking plans will make using London Underground more difficult and less safe,” she said.
“There will be no one present to help commuters who have problems with the ticket machines or with their Oyster cards.
“Older commuters and children will feel vulnerable in deserted stations late at night and there are real concerns about having sufficient staff at the station to properly react in an emergency.
“We cannot allow Boris Johnson to close our ticket offices in Hampstead and Kilburn.”
Camden councillor and Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, Tulip Siddiq, also condemned the plans and helped to stage a protest outside West Hampstead Tube station at the weekend.
Around 40 people attended, including cabaret artist and radio presenter Amy Lame, with placards saying Stop the Great Tory Train Robbery.
Cllr Siddiq said: “I have written to Boris Johnson asking him to reassure me that ticket office closures will not take place.
“Rail prices are increasing so when you’re paying that much you expect to have an efficient and comprehensive service, so I don’t think this would serve Londoners well.”
Asked whether modernisation was inevitable, Cllr Siddiq said: “I think ticket machines could be upgraded. Machines don’t always accept your notes or give you the right change back, so I think we have to get to a stage where they are fit for purpose, but even then there is something to be said for having face to face customer service.”
The leaked proposals suggest Tube ticket offices would be replaced by 20 travel hubs at larger stations such as King’s Cross.
London Underground chief operating officer Phil Hufton said: “We are absolutely committed to ensuring all Tube stations are staffed in future and ensuring visibility and availability to help our customers.”