Changes to ticket office opening times on the Tube will come into effect from Sunday 6 February, London Underground Chief Operating Officer Howard Collins confirmed today.
The changes are being brought in despite a number of strikes by tube workers since Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced plans last March to reduce opening hours in light of the continuing high use of Oyster.
Workers are unhappy about job loses arising from the changes while LU say some ticket offices sell fewer than 10 tickets an hour and staff could be better used in other roles.
That announcement led to the Mayor being accused of reneging on a key 2008 election commitment as he campaigned against almost identical plans announced by former-Mayor Ken Livingstone in June 2007.
During the election Mr Johnson wrote: “Ken Livingstone plans to close a large number of ticket offices at Tube stations, predominantly in outer London because he claims that the increase in Oyster use has made them surplus to requirements. However, what he has not taken into account is that local people feel it is important there is a manned ticket office at their station, as often there are not enough Oyster outlets in the local area.”
Johnson later claimed to have “no idea” about his predecessor’s policy.
Last month London Underground unveiled figures showing that the number of tickets sold at offices “in the four week period ending in mid-October” was 700,000 fewer than for the same period last year while ticket machine sales “have risen by around 300,000 per four-week period.”
In a statement LU today insisted “all stations will remain staffed whilst services are running, and every station that currently has a ticket office will retain one – just with opening hours that better suit demand.”
Collins added: “Every station will remain staffed, and that every station with a ticket office will still have one with opening times that reflect demand. Staff who were previously behind under-used ticket office windows will be able to be deployed to places where they can better assist passengers.”
Revised opening hours will be published at stations and will also be available on the TfL website www.tfl.gov.uk/ticketoffices.