Reductions in Underground station ticket office opening hours have led to problems with staffing and adequate information, a London TravelWatch report demonstrates.

They found problems with gateline staff at tube stations, with some stations lacking staff presence and others with staffed offices when they should have been closed. There was also inconsistency in the ticket offices appearance, with some seeming to be open when there were no staff available.

Sharon Grant, chair, London TravelWatch, said: “The closure of ticket offices was and is a controversial issue, very unpopular with the travelling public, who valued them as a source of help and information. However the promise of a highly visible, customer friendly, uniformed staff presence at gatelines was held out as an attractive alternative by London Underground Limited.

“It is therefore very disappointing to find that in a proportion of cases, this commitment is not being fulfilled. There is a need for consistency in ensuring that gatelines are safe in the event of emergency, but also that fare evasion is not encouraged or achieved.

“While it is pleasing that all stations surveyed were clean and graffiti free, with up-to-date rainbow boards and plenty of ticket machines, it is deeply frustrating when passengers who, for a variety of reasons require customer service assistance, can see no staff around. Customers cannot always purchase the ticket they need at a machine and it is often hard to determine what the best value fare is, especially if they aren’t frequent travellers around London.”

Mystery shopping surveys were conducted in October and November 2011 to measure the effects of the reductions in opening hours.

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Author's Bio: 

Roy Rowlands writes for Rail Technology Magazine an independent technical trade journal for the UK rail industry offering a wide view of rail news views and opinions, he also writes for a rail jobs board reporting on the latest trends in rail recruitment