Great news this week as Transport for London has backed down on plans to close London Overground ticket offices.
This follows an active campaign by RMT, and by local Labour Party branches in the areas affected. Reps and activists handed out thousands of leaflets, travelled round the various stations affected and made themselves seen and heard. They made the case that ticket offices are essential for people to safely access the network and for protecting jobs.
This campaign contrasts with the shocking failure of Unite the Union to raise any kind of meaningful campaign against bus route cuts, which TfL confirmed last week would go ahead.
However, the victory in saving the London Overground ticket offices has a sting in its tail, as management still plan to cut their opening hours, mostly to just three hours in the weekday morning peak. Not only is this woefully inadequate to meet passengers' needs, it is very likely a staging post to having another go at closing them in the future. Once people see closed ticket offices 21 hours a day, they stop using them, and once the Mayor's election is safely out of the way next year, we would not be surprised to see a move to shut them.
Fortunately, RMT reps and activists on London Overground are determined to keep up the fight against any cut in opening hours. While celebrating their victory in preventing full closure, they know that the battle goes on. We hope that the union's leadership is equallly determined: the fact that the union's press release did not even mention the cut in hours is not a good sign though.