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Nearly ALL train ticket offices set to close

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Unions have responded angrily to news that the Government plans to close almost all railway station ticket offices in England.

Rail union TSSA has warned that the Government will meet opposition up and down the country over the plans which are expected to be confirmed some time today by the Rail Delivery Group.

About three out of five English stations have a ticket office – most are owned and run by train operators.

Lobby group the Association of British Commuters (ABC) has claimed the Department for Transport (DfT) is set to announce consultation on mass ticket office closures with Tory ministers calling for the implementation to begin as soon as Christmas.

The group is demanding an emergency intervention by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) and Equality Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The proposals are an attempt to save money after the Covid pandemic caused a drop in revenue.

Ticket office closures ‘will impact disabled’

The EHRC told the Association of British Commuters that it had been excluded from discussions about the ticket office closures despite recently meeting with the DfT about railway de-staffing. Critics say that shutting ticket offices will seriously impact the ability of certain groups – such as the disabled – to travel by train.

TSSA has a long-standing policy opposing mass ticket office closures, with many of the union’s members working in ticket offices. The union has previously pointed to the significantly detrimental impact such a policy would have on a number of social groups, making the railways less safe and less accessible.

Peter Pendle, TSSA interim general secretary, said: “We are clear the Government will face strong opposition from this union on the totally unnecessary mass closure of ticket offices.

“Ministers will soon realise that the public have no desire to see their rail network diminished in this way. The inescapable fact is booking office staff are vital because they give passengers advice and assistance on ticket information, station security and can assist those with disabilities, limited mobility or young children.

“If it’s the case that ministers want to begin the implementation of closures by the end of the year then they are cooking up a cold Christmas for our members and millions of rail users who will not forgive them for their short-sighted plans.

“We urge people to take part in the forthcoming consultation in unprecedented numbers so that these daft proposals can be halted without delay, and that we retain a safe and fully accessible railway.”