Have Southeastern given up? Dozens of ticket offices closed across network

Recent months have seen an enormous amount of controversy over revised and cut rail services in south east London making headlines – but another issue rearing its head again today shows just how bad things are under direct government control.

Checking the service disruption page for the latest signal failure around Lewisham, it shows again that dozens of stations have closed ticket offices which is happening on a daily basis – with Southeastern already seeing some of the lowest staffing levels in the capital.

Open barriers at Lewisham

Today the company is unable to open ticket offices at numerous busy urban stations such as Bexleyheath, Blackheath, Brixton, Bromley North and many others. That was just those beginning with B.

A ticket office closure on Metro routes doesn’t mean other staff will be around as on the tube when all ticket offices closed.

Woolwich Arsenal sees minimal staffing for a busy station.

It often means there’s no one around at all to help passengers, monitor anti-social behaviour or collect revenue and staff barriers. The metro route of course lacks any on-board staff aside from the driver. No guards.

Many stations never saw increases in staffing over the past decade despite growth in housing in the vicinity as the DfT called the shots and gave numerous short-term extensions to GoVia long before pandemic related issues.

Lack of staffing has been ongoing for years.

Since they’ve taken over things have declined further.

Other stations seeing staff shortages today are Catford Bridge. Many new homes around that built in recent years. Kidbrooke ticket office is closed again. It often is. It’s been badly staffed for years. Ever more towers now surround the site but staff levels remains lacking.

These photos show the scale of change around the station on all sides (click to enlarge):

It’s a stunning rate of change. There’s many other blocks within five minutes walk.

As I often point out, Southeastern staff are generally great but there’s not enough across the network. If they’re having to close this many ticket offices daily – let alone have staff to do other duties – something is badly wrong.

All over network

The list goes on. New Cross ticket office is closed all day today. Yep, that sleepy Zone 2 station. Outside of London the same is true at Rochester. A major tourist town and another place with thousands of new homes.

Welling is shut today too. These aren’t rural halts. The list across the Southeastern network is in the dozens and in London many busy stations are part of the closure list.

No ticket office open at Blackheath today

In recent years we’ve even seen new station entrances built on the Metro network but not opened (Lewisham) alongside late revisions to station design due to low staffing levels in an area seeing thousands of homes built (Kidbrooke).

Planning document with new Lewisham station entrance at base of new tower. No plan to open

The Department for Transport and Treasury seem to be presiding over a network that is on its knees in a manic rush for short-term cuts and to hell with long term impact. TfL have financial issues and staff levels have been cut with more stations seeing few staff which is a slippery slope to reduced revenue – but they remain head and shoulders above Southeastern.



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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    12 thoughts on “Have Southeastern given up? Dozens of ticket offices closed across network

    • No network is perfect of course but SER does seem to have been in perpetual stagnation mode on the Dartford lines for some time. I note when I’m in east London now and when I was a daily user around 5-10 years ago Greater Anglia did a much better job as do TfL of having good staffing levels. Not only is that helping generate revenue as the gates aren’t always left wide open but it creates an environment that feels safe and welcoming. The dark, unstaffed stations in SE land of a night are so far removed from how other networks in London feel. It’s not hard to see how that puts off discretionary users and halts modal change.

    • It’s interesting to compare today with Southern. They have just three station issues today compared with 70 on South eastern. No station issues on Southern are related to poor staffing levels. The vast majority on SE are.

      Southern though have a huge number of short running trains which is down to the Department for Transport mandating stock being sent to scrap.

      The common cause of problems = DFT.

    • Just checked South Western and a lot less station staffing issues in London with 23 issues but most outside the capital.

      Greater Anglia have none or at least not listed on their journeycheck page.

      Thameslink report none at well.

      So of five rail companys that heavily serve London, SE metro far away ahead in lacking staffing resulting in ticket office closures.

      SE station and staffing issues certainly aren’t just today either. Last time I checked it was at 83 stations and regularly in the dozens.

    • The answer to your question is YES!

      Their new timetable was next phase of them levelling down.

    • Yes. Southeastern are being deliberately abandoned by the DfT/Treasury. They’re worse than Transpennine

    • I moved to the Greenwich area of the south east of London in 2008 and since then southeastern train services have gone on to a slippery slope of no return. Poor levels of service and a customer service that has almost reached zero. Something quite clearly needs to be done. Actually getting someone in that can not only run the service we all deserve. But actually someone that actually cares. Tfl & the Dfl quite clearly don’t give a damn that is plain to see. Timetable changes that simply don’t work & destination charges that don’t serve any purpose other than a cost cutting exercise that only benefits the company that runs the service not the actual customer that have to suffer an extremely poor service. Don’t change this piss poor service at your peril. Otherwise southeastern trains will go into administration run down by poor management.

      • Barry – TfL have absolutely no input into Southeastern. The Dept for Transport and Whitehall call the shots

    • TFL have been calling for running Southeastern Metro for years but this government doesn’t want to give more power to the Labour Mayor. Conservative councillors actively saying TFL are terrible because they can’t look past party politics. Sign this petition to get it considered in parliament.

    • TFL has got nothing to do with SE and never did, blame the DfT and government that own the line. I would love to for Tfl to take over SE but this has been refused by all tories transport ministers, yet they themselves have no plan for SE line, so for years we have to endure with this mess!

    • Dartford is manned, but I had to make a trip on a Saturday and hope it was open to renew my cycle store access, as the ticket office is closed in the morning and evening in the week when I came through.

      • As soon as into Kent the network seems better managed and staffed – though granted I do go that often or use many lines out of London. Still, often miles better than the unloved Metro lines


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