IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Station ticket office closures anger pensioners

Transport for London proposals will affect Canonbury, Caledonian Road and Barns­bury stations

12 October, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

PENSIONERS say they will be among the worst hit by plans to shut ticket offices at over­ground rail stations.

The warning came in response to Transport for London proposals affecting Canonbury, Caledonian Road and Barns­bury stations.

Dot Gibson, who chairs Islington Pensioners’ Forum, said: “We oppose the closure of ticket offices. It leaves vulnerable people without anyone to help them.

“If you are an older person coming from outside London then you have to buy tickets on transport, but there will be no staff to help. It’s all part of cuts in services which affect people’s quality of life, and the people who work there too.”

Arriva, which works with TfL to provide overground services, says closing ticket offices will “improve the way stations are managed”. In all, 51 ticket offices across London face closure.

Islington environment chief Councillor Claudia Webbe has told the consumer organisation London TravelWatch: “I am concerned that this further cut in services for pass­engers on the London rail network will have a particularly negative impact on disabled, elderly and other vulnerable passengers.”

She added: “Ticket offices, and the staff who work from them, provide important advice and support for passengers.”

Cllr Webbe has called for an assurance that the number of people employed at ticket offices will not be affected.

TfL’s director of rail and sponsored services Jon Fox said: “The way customers pay for travel has changed rapidly as they embrace new technology, creating an opportunity to improve the way stations are managed and how staff serve customers.”

He added: “Arriva Rail London have been engaging with staff and trade unions and are now consulting with rail industry bodies and London TravelWatch about ticket offices at stations where there are fewer than 12 ticket sales an hour.”

Arriva Rail London managing director Will Rogers said: “All views will be carefully con­sidered, and all proposed changes will be safety validated before any final decision is made.

“All stations will remain staffed while trains are running, with trained staff available to help passengers who require assistance.”

A consultation period ended yesterday (Thursday).

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