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Fury as ticket offices face closure

PUBLISHED: 10:32 16 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:49 07 September 2010

Robyn Rosen TRAIN passengers have expressed their anger at plans to close ticket offices in Hornsey and Alexandra Palace stations and replace them with unmanned machines. First Capital Connect (FCC), which operates trains, has confirmed it is reviewing it

Robyn Rosen

TRAIN passengers have expressed their anger at plans to close ticket offices in Hornsey and Alexandra Palace stations and replace them with unmanned machines.

First Capital Connect (FCC), which operates trains, has confirmed it is reviewing its entire ticket sales operation and has plans to make changes within the next three months.

The review has taken six months and they are currently consulting staff and passenger focus groups before it introduces the measures in March.

Opening hours at Alexandra Palace and Hornsey stations are under review, with proposals to close the ticket office during off-peak times and weekends.

A spokesman said: "We have been looking at how sales have changed.

"The rail industry, and retail in general, has changed drastically in the past 10 years with internet sales and ticket vending technology.

"So we've found the stations which this has affected the most and that's where the changes will happen.

"Evidence now shows that increasing numbers of our customers prefer to use ticket machines, which can typically dispense 90 per cent of all ticket types, usually within 60 seconds."

But Joanne McCartney, London Assembly Member for Enfield and Haringey, has called for the FCC to halt its programme, stating it will increase the fear factor of passengers who use unmanned stations at night.

"I am disappointed that First Capital Connect has chosen not to consult with passengers before pushing ahead with this programme of closures," she said.

"We want as many people to use public transport as possible and one way to do this is to make sure that all stations feel safe. Having the station staffed will ensure this and help to cut crime in the station and the surrounding area."

The FCC spokesman said that no ticket offices would close entirely, but manned at peak times.

"In terms of security we have invested a lot into making stations safer," he said. "All our stations are connected to central CCTV control centres manned 24 hours a day."

Hornsey councillor Monica Whyte said: "There are concerns because Hornsey is a dark station and even though the actual level of crime is low, the fear of crime is quite high.

"People will be wary if there is no one there. Sometimes you can't just think of money, you need to make people feel more comfortable and then more people will use the station.


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