Ticket offices serving a total of 27 million passengers a year at 11 railway stations in Croydon and Sutton are under threat of closure.
Commuters, already fed up with spiraling ticket prices and delayed and over-crowded trains, risk seeing their customer care further reduced.
The closure proposals come from Govia Thameslink, and are subject to a consultation run by London TravelWatch, due to begin on Monday.
The first set of ticket office closures, planned for June, will see ticket staff taking to the platforms at Selhurst and South Croydon Stations, instead of working behind a desk and with the support of computers linked to the network ticketing system.
The proposals could be halted, or delayed, if as many people as possible object to proposals in the statutory consultation.
The 27-million figure covers both exits and entries to the stations in 2014-2015, and comes from the Office of Rail and Road.
Other stations where their ticket offices face the axe include Sutton, which serves 6.8million passengers per year, Norbury, Thornton Heath, Sanderstead, Purley and Coulsdon South.
Andrew Pelling is a Labour councillor for Waddon, many of whose residents use South Croydon Station for their journeys to and from work. “We need to be convinced that we really will see staffing levels maintained,” he said. “South Croydon cannot always feel like a safe place for passengers to use on dark evenings, and the well-lit and staffed ticket office acts as a reassurance to rail users.
“There is always a need for an obvious place to find rail staff when you have ticket enquiries. Passengers can’t be expected to go searching for ticket staff.
“This all seems about reducing and depersonalising passenger care. You can’t get much communication out of ticket machine when it’s not working.
“London Overground, which is run by Transport for London, has really managed to improve staffing at West Croydon and Norwood Junction. This proposal by Govia and a threat of further service reductions underlines the growing demand that London’s commuter raiilways should be run by TfL under the Mayor of London.”
Ticket office closures
Stations affected (and passenger numbers per year)
Carshalton Beeches 1,020,594
South Croydon 1,294,342
Thornton Heath 3,266,642
Coulsdon South 1,753,430
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