Crofton Park, Deptford, Ladywell, Nunhead and St Johns Station Ticket offices threatened with closure

As reported by the Ladywell Village Improvement Group and Transpontine, a number of railway station ticket offices in the area have been long-listed for closure in a review by the Department for Transport. The list includes Crofton Park, Deptford, Ladywell, Nunhead, St Johns but none of the stations along the route of the East London Line, nor transport hub Lewisham.

In BC's view, ticket offices at less-used stations are a nice to have, rather than a must have, and if £1 billion can be saved by the closure of these (and the other offices threatened) then that is a powerful argument, given how many of the transactions they were created to handle can now be managed electronically. Yes, there are times when it's nice to ask a human being a question and not everyone has a smart phone to handle route planning, but at a time when cuts are being introduced in many areas, this seems like one of the more painless ones on offer.

We don't really buy the "public safety" argument in favour of their preservation. The scariest times to be on a station are precisely the times when ticket offices are already closed and the presence of other passengers is more important than the presence of someone behind a desk. Good lighting is the best solution, so perhaps the money saved could be reinvested in lighting the exits at stations like St Johns.

No decision has yet been taken by the Government on this issue.

76 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry but the news was published by someone on your own forum days before the sites you mention. Credit where it's due pls

http://www.southeastcentral.co.uk/threads/nunhead-station-central.514/page-2

Anonymous said...

Perhaps an interview with one or two of the ticket office staff who are about to lose their jobs would offer a realistic side to this rather than a 'i'm sitting on my arse' view.

Brockley Nick said...

I'm giving my opinion as a tax payer and a customer who has used all of these stations at one time or another. Of course, it means people would lose their jobs - as practically any public sector cut does. If you want to have a conversation about the scale of public sector cuts, that's another matter.

Wendy said...

Some of these stations are hardly open at the best of times. No loss.

Anonymous said...

You still havent credited the SE15 forum member who first reported the news

Brockley Nick said...

You've already done that, haven't you?

Anonymous said...

I think the onus is on the writer of the article actually. Don't you think?

brockley Central - armed wing said...

Christ on a bike... Get a life. Is nick supposed to trawl every blog post. I read SEC every day and missed that one. You've mentioned it....as for "crediting" well it wpuld only be crediting someone who posted the news reported else where. It's not stealing someones intellectual property.

the guys here have set up BC and SEC which are used to report and debate. Well done, don't let the miseabilists get you down

Anonymous said...

None of the ELL stations are on the listed, "nor" Lewisham and New Cross? Er, is not New Cross on the ELL then?

Brockley Nick said...

Fair point, well made.

Anonymous said...

Brockley Nick would say that because his company - Edelman - represents the Department for Transport!

Odd that, innit?

Brockley Nick said...

Err, no it doesn't.

Tamsin said...

With BC armed wing - a great job, well done, so don't get hung up on pettyfogging little quibbles. As long as relevant information is being spread around does it really matter whether or not every snippet is fully sourced and credited?

Stoooopid said...

It's 9/11 day. The conspiracy crazies are out, global domination, one world government, Bilderburg group..... But first st johns ticket office.

Anonymous said...

Doesnt Edelman work with TfL in some capacity?

Brockley Nick said...

Work for TfL? Nope.

Brockley Nick said...

Also, worth pointing out that TfL run (via LO) the stations which are keeping their ticket offices (eg: Brockley).

Anonymous said...

“We are currently considering the findings of Sir Roy McNulty’s independent report and any of his proposed changes to rail fares or ticketing will be examined as part of a Government review.”

I probably need this translating as my understanding of Reptillian is limited.

gibby said...

The lighting outside St Johns, or rather the lack of it, needs addressing regardless of any closure to ticket offices. At night and during the winter months it's downright dangerous.

Rick Furzer said...

Unfortunately the ticket machines do not offer the cheapest fares, best routes or provide the customer the facility to choose group discounts. Until a like for like service is provided the customer will potentially lose out if stations no longer have ticket offices and you can have an interactive conversation with a person.

Anonymous said...

No, I asked if Edelman have worked WITH TfL on any thing, not FOR. Subtle difference that you sidestepped

kolp said...

Disappointing not though surprising given the political climate but as some form of compensation for the loss of a human. I'd expect to see improved lighting at all these stations, plus monitored CCTV and an intercom info system so that those who what or need to speak to a human can interact with rail personell staff, for info and advice.

Anonymous said...

a lot of people out of the wrong side of bed today, eh?

i'm with Nick - a shame, but there would be more painful things to cut. Although Brockley station isn't on the list, can it get better lighting too? The light on the west side alleyway goes on and off at will.

David icke said...

TfL are not the Department of Transport. They both have the name "transport" in the title, well done for that.

EVEN if edleman had worked with or for TfL and assuming it was anything to do with this particular issue (TfL are a massive organisation) why would it be an issue?

If you have a credible reason to believe there is some subterfuge or conflict of interest then sayso. Alternatively you're simply having a pop and nick is simply expressing an opinion.

Sounds like you're fishing and have nothing to say except posting snide suggestions.

Anonymous said...

These ticket offices need to start charging good honest fares.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon

"No, I asked if Edelman have worked WITH TfL on any thing, not FOR. Subtle difference that you sidestepped"

Indeed they are two different questions, neither of which is relevant to this story and neither of which your insulting tone deserves an answer to. The question of whether we work for them is simple: No. The question of whether we have (ever?) worked with them is much broader and I suppose it depends what your definitions are. But for your benefit, the answer is that I personally have worked "with" TfL on a number of occasions over the years, back to the time when I worked for The FA, planning FA Cup and England games. Over the years, Edelman has no doubt worked "with" TfL for clients such as Covent Garden, Earls Court, Visit London, London & Partners and LOCOG. There are probably many other instances, but we employ nearly 400 people in London and I couldn't tell you every time one of our employees sent an email to TfL or sat in the same meeting as them. We even worked "for" TfL on a project about four years ago - something to do with public information around roadworks programmes. One of my clients is even taking legal action against London Underground at the moment, but LU are also not the Department for Transport.

So there we are. What of it?

And more to the point, what do you actually think about the ticket office closures? Is it a justifiable efficiency saving that could be spent in other ways or is it an unacceptable loss of service? If the latter, any ideas how else savings could be made. I suppose the DfT could have cancelled its contract with Edelman to save money, if it existed. But sadly it doesn't, so you'll have to come up with some other ideas.

Lou Baker said...

@rick furzer

To be fair, you don't always get the cheapest ticket from ticket office staff either. You also often don't get much help - all in all a pretty insignificant loss.

Providing, of course, that the stations remain safe and secure.

Of course the main issues are that rail fares are too complex and that buying tickets is too time consuming. A national Oyster scheme is long overdue as is a simplification of the fare structure - and an end to the ludicrous discrepancy in price between pre-booked tickets and turn up and go.

Miss L said...

St Johns ticket office is very rarely open as it is. St Johns in particular does feel a bit isolated when the ticket office is closed because of the bridge being the only entry/exit point to the station so you could get "cornered" there with no escape. That's different from other stations like Ladywell that has more exits.

I totally agree about the lighting outside St Johns, too! Is that the responsibility of SouthEastern or Network Rail or Lewisham Council? How can we campaign to get more lights there?

Anonymous said...

I'm the guy who started casting aspersions about people's integrity.

I am sorry I was such a massive tool. I have not been feeling well lately - sorry Nick and everyone who had to read my paranoid ravings.

Anonymous said...

I mean, I don't even know what TfL is. It's just something I found on Google and I thought it made me sound clever. I see now that it didn't. You will never feel as much contempt for me as I do for myself right now.

Sue said...

I would cope fine with a ticket machine rather than ticket office at Ladywell Station, but my Mum, and I suspect many others of her age and level of technophobia would struggle. I'm also wondering whether drivers will have to run along the platform to do the ramps for wheelchair users and how long that will slow down trains. I think we need to take a good look at access and equality issues before rushing to do away with staff at what are well used stations.

Would the waiting rooms (complete with a heater in winter in Ladywell) be kept open, or would the guy who runs the coffee shop at Ladywell be put out of business? Would levels of vandalism, to what in Ladywell's case is a listed building, increase, and would the cost of dealing with that partially cancel out any savings made? And this is before you even consider the value of the polite, friendly service we have long enjoyed from our ticket office in Ladywell (often lacking at Brockley, I've noticed).

Finally, I am also a tad suspicious about whether any savings made would genuinely be reinvested into the transport infrastructure, or further line the pockets of South Eastern's shareholders.

Osh said...

"Finally, I am also a tad suspicious about whether any savings made would genuinely be reinvested into the transport infrastructure, or further line the pockets of South Eastern's shareholders."

What does that mean? Why would DfT be interested in their shareholders?

Anonymous said...

@ Sue

Your mum and others of her age and levels of technophobia are entitled to a Freedon Pass if they live in London and are therefore unlikely to trouble either the ticket office or the automatic ticket machine.

Personally I see greater value in guards on board trains than platform staff - which ties in with the access issues.

The main issue with not staffing stations which seems to have been forgotten is that non-staffed stations = ticket gates having to be left open = significant loss of revenue for train operators and TfL. On-train ticket inspections will have to be stepped up to compensate, which in itself comes at a cost.

Sue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mb said...

Is it clear if it's just the ticket office or are they proposing stations to be unmanned? Not the same thing.

I know LU are/were talking about shutting ticket offices but may still retain front of house staff?

Not read the proposal but one of LUs arguments was that closure of ticket offices could mean that there would be more staff out on the station.

We need a train gel to research and let us know

Mb said...

This is the LU (not NR) official position...

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/media/newscentre/archive/18026.aspx

Does not sound unreasonable but may be some spin in there somewhere. Staff are supposed to help passengers with the machines if they do get stuck.

Sue said...

@osh The ticket staff are employees of South Eastern Trains, that have the franchise. I would like to be confident that if the cuts went ahead, SE trains's funding from govt/TfL would be cut accordingly, and that they don't simply pocket the difference. It should go without saying, but I'm not confident it always happens.

@Anon - Fair point about the Freedom Pass, though my Mum doesn't live in London, but travels in to visit.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 19:17 - at least St Johns and Ladywell have no ticket gates as it is, so nothing would change with that.

I've seen inspectors at St Johns once in the year or so I've been using that station, never on trains in the 3+ years I've been using Southeastern around this area.

darryl said...

hopefully by the time the axe is swung, all SE London's rail stations will be part of a TfL concession, instead of being squeezed for profit:

http://www.londonreconnections.com/2011/an-un-natural-selection-why-londons-franchises-should-be-devolved/

patrick1971 said...

Interesting that Deptford's on the list. One of the selling points of the redesign of Deptford Station was that the ticket office would be at platform level, thus increasing security.

At the risk of raising the mungometer, were there no ticket office at Crofton Park, the space would make a great little cafe.

I think shutting the ticket office at New Cross would be a mistake. It's very heavily used and the narrow side entrance is quite intimidating.

I think that, along with all the issues Sue raises, there's a broader issue about encouraging use. We need more people to be leaving their cars at home and using public transport. Using PT requires more mental effort and planning than using a car, and I don't think it's an unreasonable expectation on the part of the less frequent user who doesn't know his/her way around that there should be someone there to sell tickets.

That said, as far as safety and service goes, I'd prefer a guard on the train than station staff.

Mick - Tressillian Road said...

Edelman also list as a client Network Rail, so people reading this blog are aware.

I am confused as to how and why the Govt would make a decision on ticket offices - surely it's a matter for Southeastern?

Mick - Tressillian Road

Brockley Nick said...

No, Network Rail is not a client either. Where do we list them as a client please?

fidgad said...

So they can reduce the subsidy that is paid to the railways.

They probably want to annoy Bob Crow as well, but then who wouldn't.

;-p

Osh said...

I hope Mick has the courtesy to respond.

Mick - Tressillian Rd said...

The latest entry on the Register of the Association of Professional Political Consultants:

http://www.appc.org.uk

Look at the link on latest Register, under Edelman. It lists Network Rail.

Brockley Nick said...

The APPC register is retrospective. We no longer work for them. The updated version will reflect that.

Anonymous said...

wow....ermmmm and? report for the DfT about staffing on stations not run by Network rail. I doubt Nick is covering anything up, who actually cares?

Anonymous said...

DON'T BELIEVE THE LIES.

This isn't a helpful local blog at all. OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE, you're BEING BRAINWASHED by EDELMAN.

The site masquerades as a useful place for the local community to read about relevant goings on, but in reality IT'S SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE TRAINS OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

Nick isn't EVEN A REAL PERSON, HE'S A HORSE!

TM said...

Neigh lad....

Couldn't resist.

Mb said...

Must admit I wonder what the long face was all about.

Osh said...

I hope Mick has the courtesy to respond again.

Mick - Tressillian said...

Yes, Osh, happy to be courteous and respond. To what?

Osh said...

Great Mick. Well you said Edelman listed Network Rail as a client. It doesn't and Nick has cleared up your confusion. So a "thanks for clearing that up, didn't mean to suggest anything dodgy was going on, keep up the good work." would be an appropriate response.

The guy spends his whole life doing this blog and as thanks, he gets constant insinuations about conflicts of interest even though as far as i can see, he is always happy to mention any possible client interest.

Mick - Tressillian said...

I didn't insinuate anything dodgy was going on. And Nick didn't say to me "sorry, you were right, at some point up until May this year they were a client". And nor should he!

I am happy to say it's a great blog.

Now, moving on, I'm genuinely at a loss to understand why DfT would be consulting on whether or not to close a private companies ticket office. If they are, they're mad. Surely this is, and should be, a matter for Southeastern.

Anonymous said...

Not sure they can compel them to close it, just remove the obligation to keep one open? The DfT set certain service standards, if they didn't the franchises would ignore anything that didn't actually make them a few bob.

Mick - Tressillian said...

Ah. Interesting. Cheers

Anonymous said...

I had wondered how Nick spent so much time monitoring this site; during work hours.

I hate to put the cat amongst the pigeons, Nick, but what is your company's relationship to this site?

I have noticed other colleagues of yours also creating such sites. Coincidence, or something more?

This link does compromise your claims somewhat:
http://tinyurl.com/44tx4p9

Simmo said...

My god... the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. It was the "and will track its reputation in the media" that did it.

Brockley Nick said...

oh for goodness sake.

This is my site, nothing to do with Edelman, thanks. I've asked you this before, but do you really think they pay me to stay up at midnight arguing with conspiracy theorists? And to what end? To influence the people of SE4 on hehalf of clients we don't have?

What on earth has a 4 year old story about some political monitoring work we did for a company that has nothing to do with these stations got to do with anything?

Just do me the courtesy of spelling out the supposed conspiracy will you?

Out of interest, which colleagues and which blogs are you referring to?

Monkeyboy said...

Nick, ignore the cranks. Your bound to reach more UFO spotting, One World Government, Diana was killed by MI5 theorists with the greater audience your excellent blog attracts.

Cranks and nutters, working for a company that has lots of clients globally does not exclude you from blog creation. If anything the kind of bile it attracts could actually be damaging to some of those real and imaginary clients. It's an unmoderated blog, unlike many. You can bash away at your keyboard and spell out your dark scenarios, reveal it to the world, nick is giving you a platform that you don't have elsewhere.

Still, I suppose silly conspiracies are so much more interesting than "local man starts blog about missing cats and trains"

[no I'm not on the pay of Edleman or an alien, not sure about Lou]

Brockley Nick said...

@MB - come off it, you work for TfL! You're in this thing up to your neck!

Hugh said...

Won't be long before the IQ-lite 'Anonymous' brigade starts calling you a troll, Nick. Careful - you're up against people who win prizes for never being noticed.

George Osborne said...

You think you have problems?

Tressilliana said...

Would Edelman sponsor I'm deeply suspicious of Brockley Central tinfoil hats, Nick?

Anonymous said...

Edelmung promote 'ethical' lifestyles and other things that get pushed on this blog.

Reg said...

It's like the early beginnings of a religious movement, with no criticism from its followers. The Hughs, MBs, and Tamsins etc. If the tooth fairy doesn't exist they'd have to get out more.

Anonymous said...

It's come on top for Edelman.

Another Anon said...

What was that address that Edelman shares with the DfT? Remind me again why that deserves deleting?

Forage said...

This may disappear quickly, so cut and paste:

Daniel J Edelman Ltd
Southside
105 Victoria Street
London SW1E 6QT

Same building as DfT.

Brockley Nick said...

Last night, in among accusations that I was "an agent" someone managed to discover that the very large building that Edelman is based in also has some DfT employees in it. Obviously, that's how government chooses its contractors - based on the fact that they are only a few floors away.

So either the DfT secretly employs an agency without either side declaring it - thus jeopardising both sides' reputations and breaching government procurement and PR industry guidelines, or it's an entertaining coincidence.

Welcome to 2011 said...

it's impossible to work in victoria without being next door to one govt dept or another. dft will have loads of offices.

Mb said...

Push the button nick, I'll have them all killed.

NAT said...

'If the tooth fairy doesn't exist, they'd have to get out more.'

What tooth fairy?

Brockley Nick said...

The one secretly in the pay of the Department of Health.

The Dockleaf Bogging Company said...

DEFRA: the Department of Edelman For Railways, Assholes!

J.R. Shakerley said...

I had a really terrible time with the St Johns self-serving ticket machine today: I had left my oyster card at home, but luckily had some cash; it wouldn't accept my £10 note (no matter which way I coaxed it in); I then tried some coins, but didn't have the exact amount so paid over, and the screen read 'amount tendered too high' - I wasn't offered change, the payment was rejected altogether. A queue was forming behind me all the while and I felt helpless, having already missed my train. I felt bad for those who had been waiting patiently so I invited them to try their luck, and it seems cards were no problem. A kind gentleman offered me his service with my note (to no avail), and another woman offered to pay my ticket. Subsequently though, I was late for an appointment in central and very flustered. It saddens me to see yet more jobs become replaced by inadequate machines.

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