Ticket Office cuts and closures

Hackney Labour and RMT campaigners

Ticket Offices Saved!

Published on: Sat, 20/04/2019 - 14:28

Great news this week as Transport for London has backed down on plans to close London Overground ticket offices.

This follows an active campaign by RMT, and by local Labour Party branches in the areas affected. Reps and activists handed out thousands of leaflets, travelled round the various stations affected and made themselves seen and heard. They made the case that ticket offices are essential for people to safely access the network and for protecting jobs.

This campaign contrasts with the shocking failure of Unite the Union to raise any kind of meaningful campaign against bus route cuts, which TfL confirmed last week would go ahead.

However, the victory in saving the London Overground ticket offices has a sting in its tail, as management still plan to cut their opening hours, mostly to just three hours in the weekday morning peak. Not only is this woefully inadequate to meet passengers' needs, it is very likely a staging post to having another go at closing them in the future. Once people see closed ticket offices 21 hours a day, they stop using them, and once the Mayor's election is safely out of the way next year, we would not be surprised to see a move to shut them.

Fortunately, RMT reps and activists on London Overground are determined to keep up the fight against any cut in opening hours. While celebrating their victory in preventing full closure, they know that the battle goes on. We hope that the union's leadership is equallly determined: the fact that the union's press release did not even mention the cut in hours is not a good sign though.
.
.

Add new comment

Resist ticket office closure on London Overground!

Published on: Fri, 21/09/2018 - 16:46

London Overground, operated by Arriva Rail London on a contract from TfL, is planning a mass programme of ticket office closures that closely resembles the "Fit for the Future" scheme we went to war against on London Underground in 2014.

RMT has launched a campaign against the closures, with a day of action planned on 3 October. Read more about it here.

Although these workers have a different employer, they're part of the London transport system and in some locations work alongside LU staff. Their struggles are our struggles, let's support them!

Add new comment

We don't always need assistance

Published on: Sat, 31/03/2018 - 04:35

BTP seem to think they can step in to "help" during any conversation with a customer where there might have been a disagreement or where you've had to repeat something.

You've just told someone to top-up, maybe you don't think they should travel till they've sobered up or they are absent mindedly tapping their card on a 'No Entry' gate.

We deal with customers like this everyday, sometimes they get a bit annoyed when you intervene but most of the time we've handled the situation and we can move on.

Step forward the BTP who when they like to hang around (not if we did need them) listened in to your chat and decide to repeat what you've said, more aggressively, invade the customer's space and ask such helpful questions as "are you stupid?" or " are you too drunk to understand what you've been told?"

What has this achieved other than to get customers back up further or make a situation you have sorted out worse. Perhaps they get to feel like a big man, and it's always the men who do it!

Most of us want to help customers not treat them like they're scum. We need less of the BTP hanging around and more customer service staff!

Add new comment

A New Low

Published on: Wed, 28/10/2015 - 10:37

LU's obsession with profit and increasing private revenue streams on stations reached new lows this week as a self-service currency exchange machine was installed at King's Cross St. Pancras, effectively obscuring the 7/7 memorial plaque.

A swift response from local union reps plus a national press release from RMT had management scurrying to make amends, and looking around for someone to blame. The monstrosity was soon covered in a black shroud and will hopefully be moved as soon as possible.

LU would have us believe that our stations don't need ticket offices, but they do need this. In LU's money-driven, profiteering worldview, a memorial to the victims of a terrorist atrocity is apparently just wasted rentable space.

Add new comment

How To Fight For Ticket Offices

Published on: Thu, 17/09/2015 - 20:04

The fight against ticket office closures should not be allowed to die. Even if we don't feel like we have the confidence to win on it right now, there is plenty that our unions could do to keep the issue live. Here are Tubeworker's suggestions:

  • Organise demonstrations, petitioning, and leafleting outside ticket offices that are yet to close, particularly at key stations such as Victoria, Paddington, and Heathrow.
  • Revive the Hands Off London Transport campaign to link up with passengers' groups, particularly disabled people's rights activists, to make the wider social case for a staffed ticket office at every station.
  • Work with supportive London Assembly Members to demand TfL declares a moratorium on closures, pending a review of the closures that have already taken place (researching whether it has increased queuing times, etc.)
  • Focus on ex-Silverlink stations at the north end of the Bakerloo Line, where LU cannot close ticket offices without the nod from the Department for Transport.
  • We also need to look at organising in the "Visitor Information Centres" now in operation at stations like King's Cross St. Pancras and Victoria. Although they sell tickets, they are staffed by workers with significantly worse terms and conditions than LU SAMFs. Unions should demand that work be taken "in house" by LU and the workers paid the proper rate for the job.

    Comments

    Submitted by TicketOfficeWatch on Fri, 08/01/2016 - 09:16

    LU are now consulting on closing the final 12 ticket offices on the Bakerloo & District lines

    Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 09/01/2016 - 19:11

    RMT has organised a demo at Queen's Park on Wednesday 20 January, details here.

    Add new comment

    Just The Ticket?

    Published on: Fri, 11/09/2015 - 14:59

    The closure of ticket offices has led to numerous problems for both passengers and staff. We all know how frustrated the punters get when the machine keeps their money after timing out, or when they can't resolve issues they previously could have done with a ticket office.

    It's chaos for us too, because the amount of time SAMFs now have to spend in POM rooms attending to faults with the machines means there a fewer staff available to assist in ticket halls. And with the issuing of "Customer Service ID" number log-ins for the POMs, and associated training, being patchy at best, the consequence is often that we're unable to resolve Oyster issues at all, frustrating customers further when we tell them they'll have to go to the station down the road to sort it.

    Tell us again how all this adds up to "world class customer service"?

    Add new comment

    "Progress"?

    Published on: Tue, 25/08/2015 - 20:43

    We have been receiving messages from our respective unions telling us that this week's strikes are off, with an explanation that talks are making "progress". Perhaps we are supposed to just accept this without wanting to know more, but rank-and-file Tube workers do want to know more, and local reps are being pressed for answers that they do not have.

    It is good to know that progress is being made, but surely this has happened because we had industrial action on, logically suggesting that keeping it on would lead to more progress.

    We want to know the details: they are details about OUR jobs and working conditions, after all. Tube workers have shown huge commitment to the current disputes: to keep that commitment, we need to be kept informed. Simply telling us that strikes are on, then off, then on again, inevitably starts to drain morale.

    Negotiating reps are now circulating some more details, which is welcome: it's a shame that the communications from head offices didn't do this.

    It is noticeable that the list of items in the stations jobs dispute where progress has been made does not include any definite progress on job cuts and ticket office closures. The other issues are important, but without movement on the central issues, they will amount to smoothing the edges of a savage attack on the workforce.

    The unions are rightly keen to insist that the disputes are not over, but if that is the case, then why call off the action? We can understand the desire to have strikes of all four unions on two weeks' time rather than three of the four this week, but why call off the overtime ban?! That wasn't an issue for ASLEF, and it was having a real bite on fleet and stations.

    We need more answers.

    Add new comment

    Ticket Office Closure Trial: A Failure and a Farce

    Published on: Tue, 07/04/2015 - 22:55

    Two trial closures of Lancaster Gate Station ticket office resulted in chaos for customers and abuse for staff.

    On the first day, the station was short staffed. No additional management were sent to assist. Staff were verbally abused.

    On the second trial day, the ticket machines broke down; staff ended up allowing people to pay at their destination.

    Other trial days, for example at Wood Green, have been swamped with management, as LU tried to sell ticket office closures as a 'success'. But at Wood Green, exasperated management had to tell customers to top up at nearby shops. Is that really the kind of customer service LU aspires to?

    Ticket office closures make LU look like a joke in the eyes of customers. They let down the people of London. In General Election season, we hope that Londoners will join with staff in demanding politicians to put an end to this farce.

    Add new comment

    Customer Disservice

    Published on: Sun, 22/02/2015 - 20:53

    A Tubeworker correspondent writes...

    Our "Passenger-Operated Machines" (POMs) at Tube stations have recently been re-programmed to keep hold of the money, or charge the punters' bank accounts, in the event of a "failed sale" (where the desired and paid-for ticket or Oyster product doesn't arrive).

    The other day at my suburban station, both POMs developed faults and simultaneously generated two failed sales before going out of service. Our two members of staff spent a frantic 10 minutes correcting the machine faults, refunding the two passengers who had lost money (by using the ticket office machine), and dealing with the people waiting to pay for their travel (we let them pay at their destination while both our passenger machines were down).

    After we had dealt with this situation, I thought about how I might cope in the new world which the bosses envisage: Our station is to be single-staffed under the new regime, with the ticket office closed. The situation I described above would have taken me at least twice as long to resolve, along with all the associated stress and passenger anger that would involve. A company-issue iPad would've been no help whatsoever.

    We should fight to keep as many staff and ticket office facilities as we possibly can!

    Add new comment

    Timed Out

    Published on: Sun, 08/02/2015 - 19:02

    So a customer takes a bit too long buying a ticket from a machine, and gets timed out. So you can give them their money back, right?

    Well yes, but only if you have a ticket office. Which presents something of a problem in a company which has begun closing all its ticket offices. Cue abuse of staff and many rightly frustrated passengers. Hardly world-class customer service, is it?

    This is just a taste of the chaos that will engulf us if this carries on. Stop these ticket office closures now!

    Add new comment

    This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
    By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.