Transport For London’s Claim That Barely Anyone Uses Ticket Offices Is A Lie

Transport for London has said only 3% of people use ticket offices. But that number is very, very wrong.

1. London Underground staff are on a 48 hour strike over the closure of ticket offices on the transport network.

AP Photo/Matt Dunham

2. Transport for London has justified the closure by arguing that, due to the introduction of Oyster cards, only 3% of people use ticket offices.

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3. In February, David Cameron also said that “only 3% of transactions now involve ticket offices”. But the numbers don’t quite stack up.

Over 11.5 million tickets were bought at both ticket offices and ticket machines in October 2013. A little under 2.5 million, or 19%, were specifically bought at manned ticket offices, which are set to close.

Workers are striking because the closure of ticket office will cut 960 jobs.

4. So how did Transport for London get its numbers so wrong? It’s pretty simple. It tried passing off a different set of numbers to justify the ticket office closures.

The 3% figure relates to the percentage of journeys where commuters have used a ticket office, according to Full Fact, who first uncovered the dodgy data.

This, of course, is entirely disingenuous because a majority of pay-as-you-go commuters do not top up their Oyster cards before every journey they make.

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