Soon, it seems, there may be no public service buildings in London left open and operating.
The future of the accident and emergency services at Mayday and St Helier Hospitals remains in question. After announcing the closure of all but one of the police stations in the borough of Croydon, London Mayor Boris Johnson is trying to shut a number of the capital’s fire stations, ignoring warnings about the risks to public safety.
And according to a document leaked to the BBC this week, now Boris wants to stop having staff at any of the ticket offices operated by Transport for London at the capital’s rail and Tube stations.
This latest cost-cutting wheeze was reported in the same week that Londoners were told that they face a 9.1 per cent fare hike – the 11th year when commuters face above-inflation increases to their travel costs. Boris appears to want to make it more difficult for passengers to pay for their tickets.
Steve Reed OBE, Croydon North’s MP, has condemned the London Mayor’s plans to close ticket offices, which he says will hit commuters at West Croydon worst, where passengers will have to use automated ticket machines to buy tickets or top up their Oyster cards and will have no one to ask for help or assistance.
“These shocking plans will make using Croydon North’s train system more difficult and less safe,” Reed 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 Croydon North,” Reed said.
If carried through, the closure will amount to the latest Boris Johnson broken promise – last year, he pledged to keep a ticket office open at every Tube station in his manifesto, where he was quoted as saying, “there is little financial, strategic or commonsense in these closures.”
- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough – 262,183 page views (Jan-Jun 2013)
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- Sadiq Khan’s speech on “the great Tory train robbery”: full text (newstatesman.com)
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