Ticket office closures scrapped (though on Southeastern it’s already happening)

The Conservative government have today changed course on previous plans to close all ticket offices in England.

Despite the move being dictated by the Department for Transport in a quest for funding cuts, the very same ministers who pushed for closure are now stating they won’t close them at all. Oh no it wasn’t us. It was all the fault of the horrible rail companies.

Yep, that’s a nonsense.

New homes both built and coming beside Lower Sydenham station shown in render

At the entirely government-controlled Southeastern the question now is what happens as government demands have already pushed through staff reductions and dozens of office closures each day via the back door.

With the DfT micro-managing funding after demands of cuts from the Treasury, staff that have left in recent years havn’t seen replacements, and so on any given day you’ll see closed ticket windows and no staff elsewhere at many stations.

Dozens more today

Today, for example, closures are seen at New Cross, Belvedere, Erith, Eltham, Deptford, Bexleyheath, Kidbrooke, Catford Bridge, Ladywell, Lower Sydenham, Maze Hill, Plumstead, Welling to name just a few.

New Kidbrooke station building closed due to staffing shortages again.

They aren’t sleepy stations in the middle of Kent. They’re major London stations serving thousands each day and many in areas of substantial housing and population growth.

This isn’t new. For years when Southeastern was still a franchise, the DfT still didn’t do much but award short term extensions without seeking serious investment.

Thus Southeastern have long failed to keep up with growth in areas like Kidbrooke. A new station was built in recent years but then barely staffed since.

Thousands of new homes rising around Kidbrooke station. Staffing levels are extremely poor

So does anyone think Southeastern will improve staffing at, say, Plumstead station despite more than 2,500 homes now being built within a few hundred metres?

Or more pertinently, will the Department for Transport allow them to hire staff after a change of tack nationally?

Plumstead station closed during rush hour

As it is, stations can be gloomy, windswpt places that are to be avoided at certain times.

And getting on SE Metro trains isn’t much better. No staff on them either.

It’s all combining to run down a network that could offer far, far more than it currently does. And if you see politicians from the ruling party trying to make hay on this change remember that their own party has – and continues – to drive the appeal of local rail ever down.

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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.

    3 thoughts on “Ticket office closures scrapped (though on Southeastern it’s already happening)

    • It’s time to hand over the London-Dartford lines to TfL. Roll out the 3 newest overground lines running every 10-15 minutes throughout the day. This would be a shot in the arm for the whole of Bexley and Dartford, massively improving connectivity with London

    • Yes I agree Mark. Closed ticket offices also need to be reopened and stations properly staffed at all times.

    • A thought provoking and interesting read. I would have liked to have heard Southeastern’s response to your piece. I regularly contact them about trains from Chislehurst to Charing X. Always get a fairly speedy and detailed reply.


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