South Wimbledon underground station lost its ticket office today, one of the first two stations where this has happened as part of a controversial scheme to axe manned offices across London.

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The ticket office was closed at South Wimbledon Station today 

Only three per cent of tickets are now bought at ticket offices, according to Transport for London (TfL), which will save £50m a year from the closures.

Queensway's ticket office also closed today, with offices at Chigwell, Embankment, Roding Valley, Shepherd's Bush, Temple, Theydon Bois and Upminster Bridge all due to close later this month.

A TfL spokesman said all stations would remain staffed while trains are running, with more staff available to assist people on platforms and in ticket halls.

But the decision has provoked strike action from tube workers, with almost 900 jobs due to be cut.

Fiona Twycross, Labour's London assembly member, today condemned the ticket office closure at South Wimbledon, saying passengers in Merton will be paying more money for less staff support.

She said the "staggering" £134m due to be spent on building work and ticket machines in stations across London "won't make up for the loss of 897 station staff".

Wimbledon Park ticket office is due to close between April and June, with ticket offices in Colliers Wood and Morden expected to be axed by the end of the 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.

"This forms part of our wider vision for the Tube, which includes a 24-hour weekend service on core parts of the network, modern air conditioned trains and rebuilt stations, with better retail outlets that reflect what our customers really want."

Visitor information centres are being opened at larger stations such as Paddington and King's Cross St Pancras, where staff services are likely to be in higher demand.

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