Closure of Tube Ticket Offices (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
June 20, 2007
Question By: 
Brian Coleman
Organisation: 
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

There are three in my constituency; West Finchley of course I use on a daily basis as it is at the bottom of the road I live in. I am the Councillor for the area including Totteridge and Whetstone Station. Particularly around West Finchley, over the years there have been many rumours of the station's imminent closure. For my residents living at Mill Hill East - where we have recently downgraded the Northern Line service in that it is now a shuttle from Finchley Central to Mill Hill East, rather than a through service, and with that hugely expensive viaduct to maintain - the highest point on the underground system - there are increasing suggestions that the closure of the ticket office is just another nail in the future of these two stations. Can you give me a categorical assurance that these two stations, West Finchley and Mill Hill East, are not being lined up for closure?

Answer

Answer for Closure of Tube Ticket Offices (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Closure of Tube Ticket Offices (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Whilst I live and breathe as Mayor they will not be. There are no secret plans being gestated. We are heading towards a system where usage on every line is increasing year by year by year. All that I am getting is Tim O'Toole coming to me with plans for what is happening, say, on the Hammersmith and City Line where over the next ten years we will double the number of trains. There is no part of the system we see winding down. The aim of the system is to bring people in.

Brian Coleman (Deputy Chairman): I would be happy to accept that, Mr Mayor, except that in the case of Mill Hill East, where usage is increasing and where there are plans for 2,000 new homes on the Inglis Barracks site, we have recently downgraded the service to a shuttle, instead of a through service on the Northern Line, and residents now have to go to Finchley Central. If you are disabled, you have to change platforms with no means of doing so, so disabled people cannot travel from Mill Hill East. The service has been downgraded already.

I can see the scenario where you get a £10 million bill for the viaduct repair and London Underground just say to you, `Look, we cannot justify this little branch line, let us shut it'.

Mayor (Ken Livingstone): The reason for that was that to improve the reliability of the Northern Line trains they wanted to stop that split. It is exactly the same problem magnified 100 times at Camden Town, where the Northern Line crosses. I have not been briefed on it, but we had the near disaster of the person driving the train the wrong way. No one in their right mind would build the Northern Line again in the way they did. I have told Tim O'Toole that I wish to revisit urgently the plans for the separation of the Northern Line into two distinct lines.

There is no easy way out of this with that spur. I was not aware of the scale of the problem you talked about for people with disabilities. I will go and see whether there is anything we can do to mitigate that. It might very well be that in a situation - we are talking a decade away - if you could get two distinct Northern Lines then opening up the spur onto the main route again might be less of a problem because you have just got so many fewer things that can go wrong as you go south.