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Station hosts explained

We’re making some changes to how we staff our stations. Here are some answers to common questions our passengers have had about our new Station Hosts.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to get in touch about our plans to evolve the station role by moving staff out from the ticket office and on to the concourse.

We’ve listened to your views. We’ve also spoken to London TravelWatch, Transport Focus and the trade unions. And in response we’ve made some changes to our original plans.

We believe having Station Hosts on the concourse will improve how we sell tickets and make it easier for you to get help on your journey. But we know you may still have some concerns. We’ve gathered up some of the most common questions about the new role and answered them here.

Will I still be able to buy the full range - and best value - tickets from the station?

Yes. We will be retaining the ticket office machines so that we can continue to sell the full range of tickets (including railcards) that you can buy from ticket offices today.

Our Station Hosts will be available to sell tickets and offer advice on the best tickets for the journey you are making.

I want to be served by a person. Will staff availability reduce?

Our Station Hosts will be there to help you buy the most appropriate ticket for your journey and to provide advice and information.

The only difference is that our Station Hosts will be helping you on the concourse instead of the ticket office. This is so we can increase their availability to all customers using the station.

Station Hosts will also be available for longer than the ticket offices are open today. The stations where we are introducing Station Hosts will have a member of staff available from the first service of the day to the last, seven days a week.

We will also have staff on platforms for train dispatch and assistance, as we do today.

Will I be able to get staff assistance getting around stations and onto trains?

Together with our platform staff – whose role is not changing – our Station Hosts will be available to help anyone who requires help when travelling.

Our Station Hosts will be readily accessible to offer assistance and information. At most stations there will be a Hosted Information Point so that it’s easy to see where you can find help.

We are also working with disability user groups and other key stakeholders to ensure we consider the needs of disabled passengers. See more about our accessibility improvements.

What if ticket machines are not always available or reliable?

Our self-service machines are already quite reliable. But we know there’s room for improvement and we continue to work with our suppliers on improvements.

Currently, our ticket office staff are responsible for keeping these machines in service. But at busy times our staff cannot get out of the ticket office to do repairs or report any faults.

Our new Station Hosts will be able to keep a closer eye on the ticket machines since they will be on the concourse, not in the ticket office. And the longer hours we’ll be staffing Station Hosts will make it easier for us to stay on top of essential activities like topping up tickets and change.

Station Hosts will also be trained in basic maintenance and will be available to help customers who want to use the ticket machines.

Finally, we’ll be installing 63 additional ticket machines across the network to meet the growing demand for self service. We’re also looking to make additional ticket types available.

How do I get refunds, Delay Repay compensation vouchers exchanged and other processes?

Our Station Hosts will be able to help you in the same way that ticket office staff do today.

They will have access to ticket office equipment for more complex transactions such as refunds and cashing compensation vouchers.

Will queueing times increase?

We are committing to avoiding any increase in current queuing levels. You will not have to queue for any longer to buy tickets.

We are developing operating plans to ensure demand is met at each station. We plan to provide additional staff at busier times and to cover special events.

Will station service decline?

We strongly believe our plans will make for a better experience for everyone. But we understand that you’ll have some concerns.

To test and refine our plans, we’re trialling these changes for six months at just a few stations. We expect to see a number of benefits from the Station Hosts programme:

  • Increased staff presence to assist customers with ticket purchases, questions and help getting around
  • Easier access to help buying tickets, and no need to compromise on ticket type availability
  • Stations staffed from the first train of the day to the last train of the day
  • Station facilities like waiting rooms and lifts available for longer hours
  • Improved access for those who need assisted travel arrangements
  • Better safety and security for our passengers