If you’re planning to rock up to North Greenwich station’s ticket office this morning to buy a ticket, you’re too late. The blind came down for the final time yesterday as part of City Hall’s drive to eradicate ticket counters from the Tube network (or to use TfL’s euphemism, “transforming our stations“.)
With new technology replacing old paper tickets, losing ticket offices from the Tube network has been coming for a while. But it’s a surprise to see North Greenwich – the eighth-busiest station outside zone 1 – be one of the first to lose a counter that’s always seemed to be busy.
Staff will now be in the ticket hall and will be able to access extra functions on ticket machines if needed, but if you have a potentially fiddly transaction (like using a company cheque to pay for a travelcard), it’s not quite clear what you need to do. Annual tickets will soon only be available online, removing the satisfying/depressing (depending on your outlook) yearly ritual of talking to a human being while parting with a four-figure sum.
Or you could, for now, hop one stop west to Canary Wharf, where the ticket office will stay open until nearer the end of the year.
There will now be a month of “improvement works”, whatever that means – more ticket machines; or an Argos outlet, as seen at Cannon Street? We’ll have to wait and see.
Whatever the rights or wrongs in this case, the money saved on closing North Greenwich’s ticket office will go on vital services like the kiosk upstairs promoting the cable car, still staffed on Sunday despite the
aerial folly vital transport connection being closed for its annual service.
I passed through with some sadness this morning. Spoke to Jubilee Line General Manager Phil O’Hare who was upbeat that O2 visitors and commuters would be well catered for but he could not tell me where I would be able to renew my annual zone 1-3 Oyster Gold Card at the end of the year! He also said that customers had been fully consulted on the changes, TfL email me at least weekly but had never asked my views on closing ticket offices!
LUL are also cutting 897 jobs, so it is incorrect to say that this will mean more staff in the ticket hall. Bermondsey ticket office closes this week and that area will see cuts of 30% of front line staff. So no ticket office, and less help too.
Another step towards the dehumanisation of civilisation for the god ££££.
Correct, Dave B. The onslaught continues. Click here, touch out there, your movements tracked and one’s autonomy and independence further eroded. Enjoy cash transactions whilst you can. Cashless buses mean that one is dependent on a piece of ‘clever’ plastic. When things go wrong, worry not; you can spend 45 minutes on the phone to your bank and / or TfL, trying to sort out the mess – costing you more in call charges than the penalty fare / irregular occurrence that you are seeking to rectify. Have a nice day.
Can we have our lives back, please?
My experience of the ticket office was usually bad. Often (not always) rude staff and usually more kiosks shut than open, even when there seemed to be staff available in the ticket hall and at busy times. My favourite piece of bad service was when a particularly obnoxious member of staff tried to refuse to accept a company cheque for my yearly pass, on the basis that the word ‘fifty’ was misspelt in the amount (it wasn’t and wouldn’t have mattered even if it was). I asked her what she thought the word spelt and she said it looked like ‘ffty’, not ‘fifty’. I kid you not..
Modernisation does not have to be a bad thing and similar set-ups seem to work perfectly well in other cities around the world. If it’s done correctly, even without poorly staffed kiosks, the new set up could be more customer focussed and more efficient.
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