Boris Johnson has been accused by the RMT union of planning to close the ticket offices of 144 London Underground. The union says transport bosses are planning “savage reductions” in service across the tube network.
A statement issued by the union on Wednesday morning claims the Mayor and Transport for London are planning to retain full-time ticket offices only at main stations and reduce the opening hours of ticket offices at some stations to peak times “with the remainder – 144 stations – reduced to ticket machines only”.
The RMT has accused the Mayor of reneging on an election promise to halt the proposed closure of 40 ticket offices and ensure “there is always a manned ticket office at every station.”
In his transport manifesto Mr Johnson promised to make transport more convenient “by halting the proposed Tube ticket office closures, and ensuring there is always a manned ticket office at every station” and signed a petition against the planned closures.
In his manifesto the Mayor 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.
There has been little consultation with local residents, and I think it is wrong that some local stations could lose this service. I will stop the planned ticket office closures, and focus on increasing the number of Oyster outlets in outer London so local people have greater access to Oyster.”
Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary, said: “Boris Johnson, the Chair of TfL, was elected by Londoners on an explicit manifesto pledge to ensure a manned ticket office at every station. RMT challenges the Mayor to stick by that pledge and demand the binning of this cuts plan or stand exposed as a hypocrite who rips up key manifesto commitments to the voters who put him into office.”
Crow added: “It is clear from these plans that LU bosses are pushing towards unmanned operation of stations regardless of the risks.”
Responding to questions from Labour Assembly Members this morning, Mayor Johnson said “no decision has been taken to do any such thing” and said it was important to ensure “every single London Underground is properly staffed” but appeared to question “whether you need to have someone behind the glass at all times”.
A TfL spokesperson said: “As we invest billions to upgrade the network, we will be running more frequent and reliable Tube services for Londoners and commuters. We are also committed to staff on all of our stations throughout the day to provide the best possible service for our customers.
“As we’ve said before, given the current economic climate and the need to be ready for the changes that will arise when the Tube upgrades are delivered, we are looking at how we can be best organised to provide that service. This work is at an early stage and no decisions have yet been made.”