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  • Writer's pictureLauren Dingsdale

Save our Ticket Offices! – It's time to take a stand

Doesn’t it just feel like something is always being cut?


Last year it was our train services, as Southeastern slashed services from its timetable across Southeast London (and beyond) without consultation. This year it’s our ticket offices - although at least they are asking us what we think this time!


On the chopping block are over half of the ticket offices in Greenwich (Maze Hill, Westcombe Park, Charlton, Woolwich Dockyard, Plumstead, Blackheath and Kidbrooke, and 40 ticket offices overall in Southeast London.


The rationale? – these ticket offices sell 50 or fewer tickets a day.


But what about the people buying those tickets? Surely if they could use apps, contactless or a ticket machine … they would?


There is no way my 80 year old father would be able to work a ticket machine – and he certainly doesn’t have a smart phone. How would he get the train without someone to buy a ticket from? He simply wouldn’t travel. And we all know people who use the railway and who need those ticket offices. The closure of ticket offices is going to hit the most vulnerable: from the elderly who don’t know how to use ticket machines; to those who don’t have the means to have a smartphone (or the ability to use one); to those who don’t have enough money in their bank account to travel, but have cobbled together the cash. To close them – is to close the doors that public transport opens.


The consultation also seems to ignore the fact that ticket office staff don’t just sell tickets! Social media in the past two weeks has been full of stories of how ticket office staff have helped those with accessibility needs; have helped women who have had a reason to feel unsafe on the network; have provided social interaction to those who needed it. Ticket office staff are vital for accessibility, for safeguarding and for making the service we receive from train companies better and more personal.


Southeastern has claimed that closing the tickets offices will allow more skilled staff out into the station. I have seen no guarantee that this will be the case in practice. I am concerned that this is a slippery slope – resulting in job losses and a degradation of service, particularly for our most vulnerable residents. If 3 ticket office staff are replaced by 2 station staff – already working fewer hours, it is only a matter of time before those roles are quietly made redundant – with no need for consultation.


So this week, I responded to the consultation – you can view my letter here:

20230719 Response to ticket office consultation#
.pdf
Download PDF • 228KB

I also raised the issue at Full Council. You can see the question I asked and the response from the Leader here:


The deadline to respond to the consultation is Wednesday 26th of July, and you can respond by emailing Southeastern.Consultation@Londontravelwatch.org.uk.


Please stand up for our ticket offices and for the railway’s most vulnerable passengers.

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