Fears for passenger safety over station closures
CONTROVERSIAL proposals to close tube stations early have sparked fears for the safety of vulnerable travellers in Maida Vale and St John s Wood. Labour MP Karen Buck raised the alarm when she discovered the Bakerloo and Jubilee lines will
CONTROVERSIAL proposals to close tube stations early have sparked fears for the safety of vulnerable travellers in Maida Vale and St John's Wood.
Labour MP Karen Buck raised the alarm when she discovered the Bakerloo and Jubilee lines will be among the worst affected by Transport for London's staffing cuts.
Under TfL's plans, the ticket offices at Warwick Avenue and Maida Vale tube stations could close as early as 10am on weekdays - 10 hours earlier than they currently do.
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St John's Wood station could also be without ticket staff after 7.15pm on weekdays and after 3.15pm on weekends.
Ms Buck said the radical
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reduction in hours could put women and the elderly at risk.
She said: "It's an enormous shame. What they're doing is part of a programme to cut 800 staff because there's a black hole in TfL's budget.
"I'm very unhappy about it because the travelling public
really value knowing that
someone will be at the station.
"The people who will be hit hardest by this are those who are worried about travelling in the evening which is largely woman and older people.
"The critical thing is that Boris Johnson, in the run up to the
election, signed a petition not to do any of these closures."
Ms Buck's views were echoed by general secretary of the tube union, RMT, Bob Crowe, who said the cuts will turn Underground stations into a "muggers' paradise".
The RMT is now planning to organise a ballot in protest against TfL's decision to slash ticket staff.
Residents across north Westminster also expressed anger at the proposed changes.
St John's Wood councillor, Dr Cyril Nemeth, said: "This will certainly upset a lot of people.
"I think this dreadful - there should have been a public consultation.
"People would be prepared to pay a little more for their ticket than have their facilities taken away."
Anne Von Bennigsen, Chairwoman of Paddington Waterways and Maida Vale Society, said: "It's definitely preferable to have somebody in the ticket office, although the really important thing is to have the station manned.
"But closing the ticket office at 10am will only give visitors to the area half an hour to ask advice and purchase their tickets."
A TfL spokeswoman claimed the authority was committed to making no "compulsory" redundancies.
She said: "We have assured staff and customers that all of our stations will continue to be staffed at all times while trains are operating, and that all stations with a ticket office will continue to have one. The changes we're proposing to ticket office opening hours are in line with customer demand, so that our employees are deployed in those places at those times where passengers most value their help and reassurance.
"These changes will build on our exceptional safety record which has seen crime on the tube fall by eight per cent in the last year, thanks to more police on the network, a greater staff presence and 12,000 CCTV cameras, the number of which will continue to grow.
"We're committed to delivering these changes with no compulsory redundancies and, where
reductions in posts are necessary, we'll first seek to avoid filling vacancies and redeploy staff to areas where they will be needed in future.