London Underground says it’ll start closing “underused” ticket offices from February.
Last year Mayor Boris Johnson and Tube boss Mike Brown announced plans to close the majority of ticket offices and redeploy staff to ticket halls and platforms.
City Hall and London Underground say the continued take-up of Oyster and growing popularity of contactless fares means the offices are no longer needed.
Unions have held a series of strikes in protest at the closures which they say will reduce passenger safety and make it harder for older and disabled passengers to get the help they need.
Despite planning to axe hundreds of jobs, LU insists that more staff will be available to customers and that anyone needing assistance with tickets or access to trains will still get the help they need.
Last month a survey carried out by passenger watchdog London Travelwatch revealed that “a substantial proportion of passengers” wrongly believe the network will be left unstaffed as a result of the closures.
Speaking today, Mr Brown said: “Our customers and our staff remain at the heart of everything we do and we recognise that without them London Underground wouldn’t be what it is today.
“We are constantly striving to make improvements and from next year we will see radical changes as we bring staff, newly equipped and with a new eye-catching uniform, out from underused ticket offices and back rooms to where they can help customers more effectively face to face.
“I have made a commitment that all stations will remain staffed at all times and there will be more of our people visible and available to assist our customers in ticket halls, with record numbers of staff on our platforms.”
Mayor Johnson, who opposed his predecessor’s plans to close 40 ticket offices, added: “With major line upgrades continuing apace, a new 24-hour Tube service and more staff out and about to help customers at stations, it’s clear that 2015 will be a key chapter in the history of our iconic Tube.
“The network is carrying a staggering number of people each day and as our population grows we are continuing to invest to ensure the Tube’s future success.
“Our plans are all about giving the Tube the tools it needs to keep London and its economy moving in the 21st century.”
Len Duvall, leader of the Labour group on the London Assembly, said years of fare rises meant Londoners would now “pay more and get less in return.”
He added: “This fight isn’t about whether staff are based in ticket offices or on platforms, it’s about whether there are enough staff overall to provide customers with a good service, particularly the elderly and disabled.
“Before he was elected Boris Johnson promised voters that he would not close any of the capital’s ticket offices, now he is set to axe them all. Londoners will have to ask how much the Mayor’s word is really worth.”
Green Party AM Darren Johnson, who has previously called on London Underground to carry out trials before pushing ahead with the full closure plan, said: “I find it difficult to believe you can cut several hundred staff from the front line of the tube network without having an impact on passenger safety and convenience.
“Many station staff are going to be stretched to the limit as they try to remain visible and accessible whilst handling incidents on the platforms and enquiries in the ticket hall. Making all these cuts at once is a reckless experiment with a tube system that is becoming increasingly over loaded as London’s population rises.”
List of closure dates: