A GROUP is concerned about the safety of passengers after it fears proposals to close ticket offices will lead to tube stations being unstaffed.

The Chesham Transport Users' Group (TUG) has expressed its fears over London Underground's plans to axe all but a few central London ticket offices because it believes the next step will be staff at tube stations getting the chop.

Group secretary Alan Wallwork said: "The group is non-political, we're just trying to get the best service for passengers. What we say is if they close the ticket offices the next logical step is to turn it into an open station which means they will take the staff away. We are concerned the station will become a den for down and outs and yobs gathering there, particularly late at night. It will not be a pleasant experience for vulnerable people and women on their own.

"The whole travelling experience will be lessened by closing the ticket offices. Their [London Underground] logic is if we don't need ticket offices we don't need staff."

Last year London Underground cut the opening hours of ticket offices.

Mr Wallwork explained that the proposal has been made because more people are using the ticket machines.

He said: "More and more people are using the tickets machines but it's only because there are no other options because the ticket office is closed. London Underground say there is not a demand for the ticket office but that's only because you can't use it because they won't open it.

"Not everyone can use the machine like the disabled and elderly. I've seen people struggling and helped them myself."

The group has had a meeting with Amersham and Chesham MP Cheryl Gillan who is very supportive and will be having a meeting with London Underground.

Chesham TUG has also had meetings with London Underground to express its fears.

Mr Wallwork added: "Ideally we want the ticket office to stay open and the station to remain staffed. We're pretty sure that one would follow the other."