Following the recent announcement, that will see 1007 ticket offices across the country close and staffing at the remaining offices reduced, Rachael Maskell MP has written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper MP and the rail operators, urging them to reverse their plans to close and reduce staffing at ticket offices.
Ticket staff provide an essential service to the travelling public, helping them find the right tickets at the right price and offering support for their travel plans. This service is essential, particularly for people who are less familiar with travelling and disabled people who may need additional assistance and for the many people who find ticket pricing confusing and complicated.
The York Central MP has already heard from many people in North Yorkshire who tell her they are less likely to travel by train since the announcement, including many people commuting to and from Selby, where the ticket office is due to be closed.
While York’s ticket office will remain open, reforms across the country will make customers feel more nervous about using the network as they will not be confident that they will get advice about their journeys, particularly when trains are delayed or cancelled.
Rachael Maskell MP has written to the Transport Secretary calling for him to halt the cuts to ticket offices and to rethink his plans.
The announcement comes at a time when LNER, who have its Head Office in York, are seeing record use of its services. In the past when customers lost confidence in the rail service, they simply stopped using it .
The Rail Delivery Group have opened a consultation on the closures but this only lasts for 21 days and there is very little publicity about the consultation. July and August are a very busy time of year for people, so it is unlikely that many people will have the time to respond if they are aware of it. The MP has also written to the Rail Delivery Group.
Rachael Maskell MP says:
“I have written to the Transport Secretary and the Rail Operators which pass through York Station, as well as responding to the short consultation on ticket office closures. These are vital services for the travelling public and it’s appalling the way that Government continue to cut essential rail jobs and slash services for the public, instead of investing in our railways.
“I am glad that York is retaining its service, but I am seeking assurances that no-one will lose their jobs here in the city. I am deeply concerned that neighbouring towns like Selby will be losing their ticket office, which is heavily used by people commuting to York and visa versa.
“It’s clear the Government have lost interest in rail and instead of providing vital services to customers they are slashing services, not least to customers who depend on additional support like disabled people and people who are less familiar with train travel. Ticket staff do an incredible job in supporting the public in many ways, often vulnerable people will turn up at a station in need of help or people need support to navigate the confusing ticketing system that has evolved.
“It is time for a rethink from Government to ensure that vital, public facing staff are maintained across the railways, or time for a different approach under a Labour Government which understands the need for rail to be there to serve the public.
“The Rail Delivery Group has cynically opened its consultation on these cuts for just 21 days at a very busy time for people, not providing adequate time for the public to respond. The consultation can be found at, https://www.raildeliverygroup.com/uk-rail-industry/customer-focused-reform/customer-focused-stations.”