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Navin Shah GLA Brent & Harrow
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Harrow’s ticket offices start to close

In April we will see the ticket office at North Harrow and West Harrow stations close and will mark the start of a project to close several ticket offices across Harrow. The move will leave passengers in Harrow paying more money for less staff support.

The closure comes after it was revealed that the Mayor of London’s plan to close all the capital’s tube ticket offices will cost taxpayers almost £134m. The cost is “staggering” and “£134m of building works and ticket machines won’t make up for the loss of 897 station staff.”

The closure at North Harrow and West Harrow stations marks the start of a process to close ticket offices in 9 stations in Harrow. The closures will also see almost 900 staff cut from London’s tube stations. I am concerned about the impact the staff cuts will have on disabled and elderly passengers.

Amongst other things the £134m will fund additional ticket machines in 27 stations, four new customer receptions and the conversion of 181 ticket offices for other uses.

I am very concerned about the ramifications of these ticket office closures. This argument isn’t about whether staff are based in ticket offices or not. It is about whether there are enough staff in stations to provide the good service people in Harrow have come to expect, particularly the elderly and disabled who often rely more on station staff for assistance.

The truth is a staggering £134m of building works and ticket machines won’t make up for the loss of 897 station staff. No matter how user friendly a ticket machine is they cannot provide the same level of advice and customer service that staff could. Coming after tube fares were hiked for the seventh year running many passengers will wonder why they are being asked to pay more money for less staff support on their journey.

 

ENDS

 

Notes

 

-          The TfL Finance and Police Committee paper detailing the Fit for the Future ticket office closure costs is available here (page 7)

 

-       The following tube stations in Harrow will see their ticket offices close:

 Harrow

Station

Month

Duration of Work

North Harrow

April- June

1 Month

West Harrow

April-June

1 Month

Pinner

July- Sept

1 Month

Harrow-on-the-Hill

October - Dec

1 Month

Rayners Lane

October - Dec

1 Month

South Harrow

October - Dec

1 Month

Stanmore

October - Dec

1 Month

Sudbury Hill

October - Dec

1 Month

Harrow & Wealdstone

TBC

TBC


-       

I urge residents to speak out on ticket office closures

I am urging residents in Brent and Harroe not to miss out on their chance to help stop the Mayor of London’s proposal to close all the Capital’s tube ticket offices. If implemented the decision would not only meant the loss of every one of London’s ticket offices but would see 900 station staff axed.

Boris Johnson plans to axe tube ticket offices and their staff despite the fact that last year almost 40% of ticket sales were conducted by staffed station counters. Opponents of the cuts argue that, even without ticket offices, staff should be retained to deal with more complex queries such as refunds and to help people unfamiliar with the tube network or less comfortable using ticket machines, for example tourists.

During his election campaign in 2008 Johnson pledged not to close any front counters promising to ensure there “is always a manned ticket office at every station”.

 

The consultation, which launches on Friday (15th) and runs for 6 weeks, is run by London TravelWatch and can be completed at www.Londontravelwatch.org.uk.

 

Not only has Boris Johnson gone back on his word to keep staffed ticket offices, he also wants to axe 900 staff. Whilst we are not opposed to a modernised service utilising new technology to free staff from ticket counters, it is imperative that those staff are retained in the station and remain accessible to passengers.

 

People in Brent and Harrow need staff there to help them and deal with the problems which arise. They don’t want the unstaffed ghost stations they would get if Boris Johnson’s cuts are allowed to go through.

Now is the chance for local people to have their say and tell Boris Johnson that closing ticket offices and cutting hundreds of staff just isn’t on, especially after he specifically promised not to.

 

Notes

 

-       The latest figures from TFL, revealed through Freedom of Information requests, showed that 39.15% of ticket sales in 2013/14 were bought in ticket offices.

Mayor breaks North Harrow ticket office promise

I quizzed Mayor Johnson at the Mayor’s question time today whether he was mistaken in making pledges at North Harrow Station in 2008 during his election campaign?

In his 2008 Manifesto the Mayor said: “I will stop the proposed Tube ticket office closures in outer London. We deplore Ken Livingstone’s proposed closure of 40 London ticket offices on the underground network. There is little financial, strategic or common sense in these closures. We will halt all such ticket office closures immediately.”  

I am opposed to the closure of ticket offices and Boris Johnson signed a petition outside North Harrow Station in 2008 to keep North Harrow tube station open. The petition was signed by some 4000 commuters.

Taking a complete U turn and going against his own pledges Mayor of London Boris Johnson today admitted he will fail to keep his promise to save North Harrow station ticket office open. Boris pledged to keep the ticket office open in 2008, signing a petition specifically calling for North Harrow to stay open.

It is appalling that the Mayor is going back on his election pledge and the promise he made to me and Londoners at London Assembly in 2008 to keep North Harrow and London’s ticket offices open. This shows his promises are not worth the paper they’re written on. In 2008, he called the plans to close 40 ticket offices “deplorable” yet he is now planning on closing every single ticket office in London. I asked him today how he would justify his decision.

Boris Johnson said in 2008 that there was “little financial, strategic or common sense in these closures”. What has changed? Sadly the Mayor has gone back on his word and it is the people in Harrow who will pay the price for his duplicity.

Ends

 

Notes

  1. http://www.times-series.co.uk/news/2314139.harrow_boris_under_pressure_to_honour_pledge/
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18th December 2013