Tube ticket office closures caused 'significant issues'

Closed ticket office
Image caption The closures were agreed under previous mayor Boris Johnson to help save costs

London Underground (LU) offices were closed before measures were taken to ensure passengers still received a proper service, a review has found.

The independent review by TravelWatch said offices should not be re-opened but called for staff to be more visible and ticket machines to be improved.

The ticket office closures were agreed while Boris Johnson was London's mayor.

Sadiq Khan, who commissioned the review, said he had "asked TfL urgently to present a full action plan".

TravelWatch review said "significant issues" needed to be addressed to "deliver good customer service".

Stephen Locke, chair for the travel watchdog, said problems found included "the layout of stations, the services provided by ticket vending machines... and assistance for people with disabilities".

Image caption TravelWatch said the closures had caused "significant issues" for passengers

The mayor of London said the report "makes it clear that more has to be done to ensure passengers can get the right information and support".

Specific initiatives from the action plan he ordered include:

  • Setting up a joint working group between TfL and trade unions to review deployment of staff in stations
  • The introduction of a trial staffed information zone at Westminster station
  • Changes to staff uniform to make them more visible
  • A programme to upgrade ticket machine functionality that will help people purchase boundary extensions for travelcards

Mark Wild, managing director of LU, welcomed the review and said TfL was "completely focussed on making the changes needed".

Conservative London Assembly member Keith Prince said the report vindicated Mr Johnson's decision to close the ticket offices, calling them "outdated in the modern transport system".

But Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union general secretary Mick Cash said the report was "an opportunity missed as it fails to tackle the crisis of understaffing on the Tube".

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