The first London Underground ticket offices have closed in a controversial move to “modernise” customer service.
The offices at South Wimbledon and Queensway stations were the first to go on Monday (February 2). All remaining offices are scheduled to follow suit by early next year.
The action has prompted strikes in the past, with the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) having previously said the closures will cause “chaos” at a time when passenger numbers are surging.
But Transport for London (TfL) claims fewer than 3% of customers use ticket offices.
Bosses say all stations will remain staffed and 150 new ticket machines will be installed by April 2015. TfL says the move will also save it £50 million a year.
Nick Brown, London Underground’s chief operating officer, said: “Throughout this year, passengers will see further improvements at stations, including more staff in ticket halls, on gate lines and platforms, where they can offer the best possible assistance.
"Our new customer service training programme is also underway, and staff are being equipped with the latest technology to help customers with their journeys.”
London mayor Boris Johnson, who hopes to become MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, had previously pledged “no ticket offices will be closed”, but later told getwestlondon he would have been “mad” not to change his mind.
A full list of the planned station works is available online.