Transport for London has confirmed plans, first reported by the Evening Standard last week, to “review of the role of ticket offices” at London Overground stations.
The review, which could lead to closures across the network, is part of a package of reforms TfL and London Overground operator Arriva Rail London (ARL) claim will “modernise customer service”.
Other measures announced today include making station staff more visible, upgrading ticket machines and improvements to how customer information is displayed. Under the reforms, the number of agency posts will be reduced and more permanent roles created.
The capital’s transport agency says rail unions, the Department for Transport and passenger watchdog London TravelWatch will be consulted over its proposals.
Jonathan Fox, TfL’s Director of London Rail, said: “The London Overground network has improved enormously over the last decade.
“We want to continue that trend and make sure that we are continuing to provide a first-class service that meets the needs of today’s customers.
“Over the years we have seen significant changes to how customers use stations and pay for travel and this exercise will enable ARL to consider how best to respond to these and make sure the Overground retains its position as one of the best train services in the UK.”
Will Rogers, Arriva Rail London’s managing director, added: “As the London Overground network has grown, our staff have been instrumental in adapting to customer trends, new technology and ways of working that benefit customers, communities and employees.
“There is no doubt that TfL’s vision for the Overground is both strong and ambitious, and so we will work closely with them to achieve a joint goal of meeting the ever-changing needs of our customers and communities.
“Our programme aims to create a stronger London Overground, with a secure and skilled future for our employees.”
The review echoes one carried out on the Tube network under former Mayor Boris Johnson which led the closure of all ticket offices, a move opposed by Labour members of the London Assembly and current Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Conservative party London Assembly member, Keith Prince, said: “Given the huge savings TfL has to make to even partially cover some of the Mayor’s election promises, these changes were probably inevitable.
“But it’s notable that, unlike virtually every other TfL press release where the Mayor is desperate to be the face of ‘good news’ announcements, the name “Sadiq Khan” is nowhere to be seen here. He clearly senses a backlash.
“Modernising the network makes a lot of sense, but it smacks of hypocrisy from a Mayor who criticised his predecessor repeatedly for making the same decisions about London Underground ticket offices.”