The new Mayor of London failed to satisfy campaigners who are trying save an Underground ticket office, despite offering his support to their fight.

In a written answer to a question about the future of North Harrow ticket office, Boris Johnson appeared to not understand the reasons behind the campaign.

He wrote: "Local people feel it is important to be able to have a staffed ticket office at their station, as often there are not enough Oyster outlets in the local area."

He went on to say the number of Oyster card machines are due to almost double by the end of the year, but has been accused of dodging the question.

Navin Shah, assembly member for Brent and Harrow, who posed the question at Mr Johnson's first question time on Wednesday, May 21, said he was disappointed with the answer.

He said: "I asked the mayor a straightforward, direct question and I believe his answer is an attempt to kick the issue into the long grass.

advertisement"The answer does nothing to address palpable local anxiety and concern at losing a valuable service."

James Bond, who works at the station and has led the campaign against the closure, said: "We all know that Navin Shah's question deserved a simple yes, but I am not downcast with Boris's long-winded answer.

"It is very wrong to say that local people want a staffed ticket office because there are not enough Oyster outlets in the area."

He said local people want ticket offices for information, help with problems including Oyster card malfunctions, and most importantly to make passengers feel safe and secure.

Matt Brown, spokesman for the mayor's office, tried to clarify the position, pointing out Mr Johnson is in discussions with Transport for London about the future of the 40 threatened ticket offices across London.

He said the mayor intends to honour his election promise to reverse the closure programme, but failed again to acknowledge the reasons why thousands of local people want the ticket offices to remain open.

Mr Johnson is under pressure to honour his promise, having signed a petition in North Harrow demanding the offices remain open.

That petition, signed by 4,125 people, was handed over to Navin Shah on Friday, May 30 and will in turn be presented to the mayor.