Anerley and Penge West stations’ ticket offices are among 51 across the capital which have been earmarked for cost-cutting closure.
Croydon’s London Overground stations, West Croydon and Norwood Junction, are not on the list of those about to lose their ticket offices.
The ticket offices that seem doomed to closure fall below the Department for Transport’s “busy” threshold, which requires offices to have at least 12 ticket sales per hour to remain viable. Ticket issuing data indicates that only 5 per cent of transactions are through ticket offices.
Passenger groups and trades unions oppose ticket office closures because this often leaves stations unstaffed for long periods, presenting issues of access problems and personal safety, especially at night.
A statutory consultation between Arriva Rail London (the London Overground operator), London TravelWatch and rail industry bodies began this week over the closures. It runs until October 11, after which Transport for London – which is groaning under the financial pressure of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s fare freeze – is expected to confirm the closures.
TfL claims that significant growth in Oyster and contactless payment methods, increased use of self-service machines and the TfL app, had contributed to a low number of tickets sold at the offices. It had used similar arguments recently when deciding that the Croydon Tramlink should go “cashless”, and opted to remove the network’s ticket machines, rather than replace them.
“The way customers pay for travel has changed rapidly as they embrace new technology, creating an opportunity to improve the way stations are managed and how staff serve customers,” said Jon Fox, Transport for London’s director of rail and sponsored services.
“Arriva Rail London have been engaging with their staff and trade unions and are now consulting with rail industry bodies and London TravelWatch about ticket offices on stations where there are fewer than 12 ticket sales per hour.
“We encourage customers to share their views through London TravelWatch. These proposals will not compromise safety and all stations will remain staffed at all times.”
This is all described by the operators as “modernising the customer experience”.
There are already 16 stations operated by Arriva Rail London for TfL without ticket offices. Arriva say that all stations will remain staffed while trains are running, with trained staff available to help passengers who require assistance.
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