Labour London Assembly Member John Biggs has spoken out to condemn this month’s ticket office closures at Aldgate East and Bethnal Green which marks the start of a project to close several ticket offices across Tower Hamlets. Mr Biggs said the move will leave passengers in Tower Hamlets paying more money for less staff support.
The closure comes after it was revealed that the Mayor of London’s plan to close all the capital’s tube ticket offices will cost taxpayers almost £134m. John Biggs AM described the cost as “staggering” and said that “£134m of building works and ticket machines won’t make up for the loss of 897 station staff.”
This month’s closure marks the start of a process to close ticket offices in 6 stations in Tower Hamlets. The closures will also see almost 900 staff cut from London’s tube stations. John Biggs has expressed particular concern about the impact the staff cuts will have on disabled and elderly passengers.
Amongst other things the £134m will fund additional ticket machines in 27 stations, four new customer receptions and the conversion of 181 ticket offices for other uses.
John Biggs AM, London Assembly Member for City & East, said:
“I am very concerned about the ramifications of this month’s ticket office closures. This argument isn’t about whether staff are based in ticket offices or not. It is about whether there are enough staff in stations to provide the good service people in Tower Hamlets have come to expect, particularly the elderly and disabled who often rely more on station staff for assistance.
“The truth is a staggering £134m of building works and ticket machines won’t make up for the loss of 897 station staff. No matter how user friendly a ticket machine is they cannot provide the same level of advice and customer service that staff could. Coming after tube fares were hiked for the seventh year running many passengers will wonder why they are being asked to pay more money for less staff support on their journey.”