July 29 2014 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Senior reporter
Friday, March 28, 2014
Every Tube station ticket office in Redbridge could be closed next year, leaving only machines to buy passes and top up Oyster cards.
The Underground strikes earlier this year ignited fierce debate on the issue.
On one side, the late RMT general secretary Bob Crow claimed the move would create a “criminal’s paradise” and put vulnerable passengers at risk.
London Underground bosses focused on “modernisation” of the network and used the statistic that three per cent of journeys involved a ticket office purchase to make their case.
But the statistic is a misleading one, as most people use Oyster cards or travelcards for several days or months at a time.
Figures obtained by the Recorder show that 15pc of transactions at Redbridge Tube stations happen at a ticket office - 30pc of ticket purchases and 10pc of Oyster top-ups.
More than 533,000 purchases were made at Redbridge ticket offices last year - an average of 1,460 every single day.
More machines will replace them when they shut but concerns about accessibility have been raised by disability groups, the elderly and people who have difficulty reading English.
Stations will still be staffed at all times and Redbridge’s 10 Underground stations on the Central Line, including Hainault, Gants Hill, Wanstead and Woodford, will be open all night on Friday and Saturday from 2015.
New visitor information centres will be opened in some central London stations and some will see a boost in staff.
The changes are part of £270million spending cuts that will result in the loss of around 750 jobs, although London Underground is trying to limit redundancies.
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