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RMT to hold protest against plans to cut ticket office opening hours at Camden's London Overground stations

PUBLISHED: 12:29 10 October 2019 | UPDATED: 12:48 10 October 2019

Transport for London u-turned on plans to close ticket offices at stations earlier this year. Picture: TfL

Transport for London u-turned on plans to close ticket offices at stations earlier this year. Picture: TfL

© Transport for London

The opening hours for London Overground ticket offices in Camden could be cut according to the RMT.

The opening hours for London Overground ticket offices in Camden could be cut according to the RMT.

The transport union said the opening hours will be cut by an average of nearly 65 per cent. The stations affected are Camden Road, Finchley Road and Frognal, Gospel Oak, Hampstead Heath, Kentish Town West, and South Hampstead.

It also said the ticket office at West Hampstead station will close completely, but Transport for London disputes this. It says it will be open between 7.30am and 11am, and 4pm and 6.45pm on weekdays and for a handful of hours at the weekend.

Some offices will only be open for a total of 12.5 hours a week. Camden Road escapes the worst of the planned cuts, with its weekly hours only cut from 93.75 to 41.

The RMT said many stations would only be open from 7.30am to 10am on Monday to Friday.

Transport for London cancelled proposals earlier this year to close ticket offices completely after a campaign by the union.

The RMT is still concerned that stations will become less safe, secure and accessible and that passengers will not be able to buy all types of tickets and services at a machine.

It also believes it makes it easier for London Overground to close more ticket offices in the future.

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However a TfL spokesperson said all stations will still be staffed from 15 minutes before the first train in a morning to 15 minutes after the last. It will be going into consultation with unions and staff over the proposals.

The RMT will be holding a "day of action" tomorrow to try and rally passenger support against the changes.

John Saynor, West Hampstead Amenity and Transport chairman John Saynor said: "[We have] been campaigning to prevent the closure of our Overground station ticket office for over 18 months. We wanted to avoid the what happened when the Tube ticket offices closed, when the Tube station was left with no visible staff for hours at a time. The busy ticket office at West Hampstead is much used by many different kinds of traveller and by local people, and its regular customers greatly value the service that they receive from the staff.

"A London-wide campaign persuaded the Mayor to stop a general closure of the Overground ticket offices, but we then found that opening hours were to be slashed, greatly reducing the value of our ticket office to local residents. We met TfL managers who told us that some sort of staffed facility would be provided, but the details are still not clear."

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "These plans to cut ticket office opening hours are about cutting costs and maximising profits and fly in the face of the Mayor's promise last year to keep the ticket offices open.

"RMT will be fighting to keep ticket offices fully open and oppose the proposed cuts and we expect the same widespread support from the travelling public that we had when fought to save ticket offices last year."

Jonathan Fox, TfL's director of rail and sponsored services, said: "We made clear back in the spring that, after listening closely to the views of Londoners, ticket offices on London Overground will remain open during the times of day when customers need them most.

"The busiest ticket offices will continue to operate the same hours as they do now. At quieter stations, ticket offices will be open a minimum of 7.30am to 10am Monday to Friday, and longer where there is customer demand. Only one station that currently has a ticket office will not have one in the future owing to the space being required for the much-needed installation of a lift. For the RMT to suggest otherwise is untrue."

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