Rail unions staged a demonstration outside Whitechapel station this morning in protest at redevelopment plans to close the staffed ticket office by Transport for London (TfL).
The plans include the proposal to replace the existing ticket hall and staffed ticket office with a new ticket machine-only hall by the time Crossrail services start at the station in 2018.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) union and Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) rallied members and supporters in a move to raise community awareness over the threat to ticket office services.
“The ticket office is an essential service to the public. Not everyone is comfortable using technology,” said Steve Hedley, Assistant General Secretary of the RMT, as he handed out flyers to station users.
Hedley warned that station users would not be the only ones to suffer.
“The repercussions will not be felt only in Whitechapel. Across London ticket office closures will lead to job losses.”
Labour London Assembly Member, John Biggs, who represents Tower Hamlets as part of the City and East constituency said: “This protest is very important for local people to understand the threat to services at the station.”
Biggs added that a local group representing the disabled had expressed concern about the planned closure of the ticket office.
A concern also echoed by Tower Hamlets Labour Party chairman Chris Weavers: “An equality impact assessment needs to be carried out about how the changes could affect groups such as the elderly or disabled.”
TfL has previously stated that where stations are redeveloped some will offer increased ticketing technology instead of a ticket office.