The head of London Underground has denied suggestions that closing ticket offices will lead to a “de-staffed” Tube network.
LU says the closures, first proposed in 2007, are necessary because the continuing success of the Oyster card means ever smaller numbers of passengers pay for their journey at ticket offices.
Tube unions claim the clsoures will reduce the number of staff available to help passengers and make the network less safe.
Appearing before the London Assembly’s Transport Committee, LU Managing Director Mike Brown denied such claims and promised every station would be staffed during operating hours.
Mr Brown told Assembly Members he would reject any proposal to move to unstaffed or part-time staffed stations.
He said that moving staff from under-used ticket offices would make it easier for passengers to get help when needed and that new technology would allow staff to process refunds and sell tickets from anywhere in the station.
As an example of how technology could make more staff available to passengers, Mr Brown suggested it was no longer necessary to have dedicated staff in CCTV control rooms because devices such as tablets meant camera feeds could be accessed by all staff wherever they were on the station.
Ahead of the meeting the RMT union published a poll suggesting 71% of Tube users would be “quite concerned” or “very concerned” if ticket offices were closed.
Mr Brown assured Assembly Members that LU staff, Londoners and disability rights campaigners would all be consulted on staffing changes before they were implemented.
He also agreed to consider a proposal by committee Chair Val Shawcross to publish a Customer Service guarantee setting out the minimum level of service passengers could expect.
Asked about recent cuts in the Government’s grant to Transport for London, Brown said it was still possible to deliver a safe and reliable service because ongoing investment in new tracks and trains meant maintenance costs were falling.