Ticket office changes
What were the issues for passengers?
We received several applications from rail operators to close ticket offices or vary the opening hours:
- London Underground (LUL) wanted to close 11 ticket offices at stations between Harrow & Wealdstone and Queen’s Park on the Bakerloo line and Gunnersbury and Kew Gardens on the district line
- Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) wanted to close or reduce ticket office opening hours at 55 stations in our area
- Great Western Railway (GWR) wanted to change ticket office opening hours at eight stations in the area we cover.
What did we do and what were the outcomes?
Operators wishing to change the opening arrangements at ticket offices have to consult with us under the terms of Schedule 17 of the National Rail Ticketing and Settlement Agreement. We look at the number of passengers likely to be affected by the changes and decide whether operators should set up a public consultation. When a consultation takes place we analyse the responses and our Board takes a view on whether what is proposed is likely to adversely affect passengers.
i) We received around 1,600 responses to our public consultation on London LUL’s proposals. We persuaded LUL to delay closures until new, improved ticket machines are installed and working. They also agreed to keep the ticket offices at Harrow & Wealdstone, Queens Park and Wembley Central open for at least two more months after this to allow for analysis of ticket office sales at these stations so we can be sure passenger needs will be met.
ii) We received an unprecedented number of responses (9,000+) to the consultation on GTR’s proposals. We also received representations from local authority lead members, MPs and London Assembly Members. The vast majority of these responses disagreed with the proposals. We opposed the proposals due to concerns about ticket machines, cash transactions and how ‘station hosts’ would operate and asked GTR to develop and pilot a clearer proposal. GTR amended its plans as a result of our concerns and decided to pilot the changes it will be making at a few stations before planning further expansion. As a result of our suggestions passengers will still be able to buy the same range of tickets and railcards that they can today. They will also be protected against future proposals to make further changes to facilities and staffing offered at stations. The amended plans meet almost all of the concerns raised by passengers.
iii) Following the consultation with us on its proposed changes, GWR agreed to withdraw plans to change ticket office opening times at Langley and Slough. This was after we voiced our concern about the large number of transactions made at these stations.