Hundreds of train ticket offices across England set to close under new plans

4 July 2023, 21:21

Nearly every train ticket office in England could close, it has been suggested
Nearly every train ticket office in England could close, it has been suggested. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Hundreds of train ticket offices across England are expected to close down within the next three years under new plans.

The government is expected to unveil new plans tomorrow, which will approve plans by the Rail Delivery Group to close around 1,000 offices.

If the plans are approved, rail users will instead have to use train operators' apps, websites or self-service kiosks to purchase their tickets.

Critics have suggested closing down ticket offices could lead to an increase in the number of people using public transport without paying for tickets.

It may also make rail travel more difficult for the elderly and disabled people.

Data suggests the proportion of ticket sales taking place at offices has fallen from 85 per cent in 1995 to 12 per cent in 2023.

A traveller at the information desk inside Victoria Coach Station on June 25, 2022 in London
A traveller at the information desk inside Victoria Coach Station on June 25, 2022 in London. Picture: Getty

It has also been suggested those who work in the offices may be moved onto concourses.

"We need to have a realistic conversation about ticket offices, especially those that are simply not used," Greg Smith, chair of the Transport Committee, told The Sun.

"When unions are unleashing maximum disruption, having this debate on ticket offices now is putting a rocket under union anger and will only bring more disruption for travellers."

There are also fears the closure of ticket offices could lead to more industrial action, which has already crippled rail services across the country.

Read More: When are the train strikes in July? Full list of dates and services affected

Read More: RMT's Mick Lynch says Keir Starmer does not show enough support for strikes - as he warns no end for commuter agony

Transport Salaried Staffs Association's interim general secretary Peter Pendle said today: "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."

Watch Again: The RMT's Mick Lynch joins Nick Ferrari to take your calls | 21/06/23

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said last week: "The train operating companies and the government must understand that we will vigorously oppose any moves to close ticket offices.

"We will not meekly sit by and allow thousands of jobs to be sacrificed or see disabled and vulnerable passengers left unable to use the railways as a result.

"RMT will bring into effect the full industrial force of the union to stop any plans to close ticket offices, including on our upcoming strike days of July 20, 22 and 29 in the national rail dispute."

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