Labour London Assembly Member Murad Qureshi has spoken out to condemn today’s ticket office closure at Queensway Station saying that passengers in Westminster will be paying more money for less staff support. The closure comes after it was revealed last week that the Mayor of London’s plan to close all of London’s tube ticket offices will cost taxpayers almost £134m. Murad Qureshi 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.”
The £133,925k funding to close 301 London underground ticket offices and install new equipment in ticket halls was detailed in papers for January’s TfL Finance and Policy Committee meeting. Alongside the ticket office closures, 897 staff are also set to be axed with many stations seeing significant cuts in their staffing levels. The plan to close of all the capital’s tube ticket offices comes despite the Mayor previously pledging to protect all ticket offices from closure.
Today’s closure marks the start of a process to close ticket offices in 31 stations in Westminster. The closures will also see almost 900 staff cut from London’s tube stations. Murad Qureshi AM 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.
Murad Qureshi AM, London Wide Assembly Member, said:
“I am very concerned about the ramifications of today’s ticket office closure. 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 Westminster 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 only weeks 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.”