This press release, issued by the Mayor of London, was first published on london.gov.uk
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and TfL have today confirmed that London Overground ticket offices will remain open, after he provided an additional £5m funding from London's business rates. As part of this the Mayor and TfL have allocated £1m to invest in new technology to improve stations and make it even easier for customers to get help when they need it, including remote-controlled ticket barriers and trials of video-link ticket machines this summer.
After listening closely to the views of Londoners about their ability to purchase tickets and ask staff for assistance or advice, the Mayor asked Transport for London (TfL) to reconsider the plans so that ticket offices will remain staffed during those times of day when customers need them most.
The busiest ticket offices will continue to operate as they do now. At quieter stations, ticket offices will be open a minimum of 0730-1000 Monday to Friday, and longer where customer demand is over 12 transactions an hour - reflecting feedback from last year's consultation. The specific times for each station are being finalised and will be discussed with the trade unions before being published.
All stations will continue to be staffed from 15 minutes before the first train of the day until 15 minutes after the last - a continuing commitment that makes London Overground stations stand out on the national rail network.
The proposals follow last year's consultation about shutting 51 ticket offices at London Overground stations, in response to the changing way people pay for travel as they embrace new technology. In response to the consultation, London TravelWatch stated that 24 should remain open, but 27 ticket offices would still have been permanently lost.
The Mayor and TfL have listened to concerns raised by the trade unions, and feedback gathered by Arriva Rail London, the operator of London Overground, who conducted a station-by-station review of the network with the trade unions, which included consulting with its staff for their views.
London Overground is one of the most reliable train operators in the country and is rated one of the best by customers. Further changes are planned to improve the service and, this summer, new world-leading ticket machine technology will be trialled at a number of stations. The new technology will connect customers by video link to a member of staff who can help guide them through ticket purchasing and provide other assistance if needed. If the trials prove popular with customers, this technology could be expanded to be a feature of ticket machines at every London Overground station across the capital.
Ticket barriers remotely controlled using video will also be trialled this year, for the first time on TfL's network, allowing station staff to have more multi-functional roles and help tackle fare evasion.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
'I am proud of the service the London Overground provides to hundreds of thousands of Londoners every day, and it is vital that we ensure stations across the network continue to operate in a way that best serves the needs of everyone travelling across the capital.
'Proposals were being considered that would have resulted in the permanent loss of 27 ticket offices. However, having listened closely to the views of passengers and to the hard-working staff working at our stations I have asked TfL to ensure that no ticket officers will be closed permanently, and the busiest ticket offices will remain open to passengers exactly as they do now.
'TfL will carry on working closely with Arriva Rail and transport staff to ensure any changes in how stations operate and the adoption of new technology truly has a beneficial impact for all the Londoners who rely on the service every day.'
Jonathan Fox, TfL's Director of Rail and Sponsored Services, said:
'Since TfL took over key suburban rail routes in 2007, passenger numbers have increased six-fold and the network has become one of the most popular and reliable railways anywhere in the country.
'We look forward to continuing to work alongside Arriva Rail London, the operator of London Overground, on these important changes and ensuring our passengers continue to benefit from a high level of customer service.'
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