I know recent proposals to close a large number of ticket offices at rail stations has generated considerable concern. As I made clear last year when these proposals were first floated, there must remain staff in attendance at all hours stations are operating to provide assistance to those who need it. I have attached at the bottom of this page a copy of a letter I sent to then Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, last summer. I also raised this matter directly with the Rail Minister, Huw Merriman, in the House of Commons earlier this month:
The idea behind the proposals is that the staff who currently man the offices would still remain at local stations to help passengers in much the same way they do at the moment – boarding trains, supporting those with mobility issues, and generally offering assistance to everyone passing through. They just wouldn’t be behind a ticket desk. Nonetheless, I certainly want to see cast iron assurances that this move will not lead to job cuts and that all stations, no matter their size or the frequency of departures, remain properly staffed to provide assistance and advice to passengers, including on ticketing. These are requests I reiterated in my formal response to the consultation, which I submitted last week. Again, I have attached a copy below, which I hope makes clear my views.
I should stress that MPs will not get a vote on these proposals, which is why, if you have not done so already, it is so important that you make your views known before the consultation closes on 1 September. You can do so here:
In the meantime, I will, of course, keep pressing the decision makers on the points many of us have already made on the importance of station staff and the potential impact of these proposals on accessibility and safety.