Rail union campaign to stop Overground ticket office closures at Rotherhithe and Surrey Quays

Josh Salisbury (25 September, 2018) Transport

The RMT union says it'll negatively affect passengers who are elderly or disabled

635File image of passengers on an Overground train

The rail union RMT has launched a campaign to stop the closure of 51 ticket offices at London Overground stations including several in Southwark.

The ticket offices at Rotherhithe, Surrey Quays and Honor Oak Park in Lewisham are among those due to be culled.

The union will be leafleting stations affected by the closures on October 3, ahead of Arriva Rail London and TfL completing a consultation on the plans on October 11.

It alleges that the closures will make it harder for passengers to access services, heighten congestion and negatively impacted the disabled or vulnerable who are less confident using a machine.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “I am calling on Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to oppose this retrograde plan for wholesale closures in the strongest possible terms. Ticket offices play a crucial role at train stations.

“London needs to welcome its passengers, visitors and tourists not with a machine, but a welcoming and friendly ticket office who can provide a full range of services.

”This is just the latest attack on a properly staffed, safe, secure and accessible railway for all and RMT is determined to halt these plans in their tracks.”

A campaign page on the RMT website has been set up to allow supporters to oppose the closures with a petition directly to London TravelWatch, the independent watchdog.

Jon Fox, TfL’s Director of Rail and Sponsored Services 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.

“Arriva Rail London have been engaging with their staff and trade unions and are now consulting with rail industry bodies and London TravelWatch about ticket offices on stations where there are fewer than 12 ticket sales per hour.

“We encourage customers to share their views through London TravelWatch. These proposals will not compromise safety and all stations will remain staffed at all times.”

Arriva Rail London, which runs the Overground services, said it successfully operated sixteen stations without ticket offices, and that data suggests only 5% of ticket sales were made through offices.

Will Rogers, CEO of Arriva Rail London, said: “We have now started a consultation process on proposals to reduce the number of ticket offices on the rest of the London Overground.

“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.”

The full list of proposed ticket office closures:

Acton Central, Anerley, Brondesbury, Brondesbury Park, Bruce Grove, Bush Hill Park, Caledonian Road & Barnsbury, Camden Road, Canonbury, Carpenders Park, Clapton, Dalston Kingsland, Dalston Junction, Finchley Road & Frognal, Gospel Oak, Hackney Central, Hackney Downs, Hackney Wick, Haggerston, Hampstead Heath, Hatch End, Headstone Lane, Homerton, Honor Oak Park, Hoxton, Imperial Wharf, Kensal Rise, Kensington (Olympia), Kentish Town West, Kilburn High Road, Penge West, Rectory Road, Rotherhithe, Shadwell, Shepherds Bush, Shoreditch High Street, Silver Street, South Acton, South Hampstead, Southbury, St James Street, Stamford Hill, Stoke Newington, Surrey Quays, Theobalds Grove, Turkey Street, Wapping, Watford High Street, West Hampstead, White Hart Lane and Wood Street.

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