Cash payments SAVED! Rail ticket offices set to remain open in major U-turn

 Commuters buy tickets from the ticket office

Commuters buy tickets from the ticket office

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 31/10/2023

- 10:46

Updated: 31/10/2023

- 14:18

The statutory watchdog rejected proposals to close ticket offices in up to 974 stations across England

Cash-dependent Britons have been given a major boost after it was announced proposals to close rail ticket offices across England had been rejected by the industry's leading watchdog.

Transport Focus dismissed the Rail Delivery Group's plan to close hundreds of ticket offices across England this morning.

The statutory watchdog heard "powerful and passionate concerns" about the potential changes.

More than 680,000 people submitted responses during the consultation period.

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mick lynch backs gb news dont kill cash campa

Mick Lynch's RMT union were also vocally opposed to the measures, warning it would adversely impact vulnerable Britons.

The proposal was pushed forward to cut costs as operators warned just 12 per cent of tickets are now bought from station kiosks.

The Government is now asking train operators to withdraw their proposals for a widespread closure of station ticket offices, Transport Secretary Mark Harper has revealed.

Harper also said the proposals did not meet the "high thresholds" set by Whitehall.

An announcement is expected shortly from the Department for Transport.

Mick LynchMick LynchPA

However, Lynch remains committed to dismissing the proposals altogether.

The RMT's general secretary said: “A stitch up behind closed doors which still paves the way for ticket office closures and the axing of railway station staff jobs would be a betrayal of the hundreds of thousands of passengers who have objected these savage cuts as part of RMT’s campaign."

But Transport Focus' chief executive Anthony Smith confirmed the statutory watchdog rejected the overall proposals.

He said: “Following analysis of the 750,000 responses to the consultation and in-depth discussions with train companies Transport Focus is objecting to the proposals to close ticket offices.

“Significant amendments and changes have been secured by the watchdog – for example, reverting to existing times when staff will be on hand at many stations. Some train companies were closer than others in meeting our criteria.

A closed ticket office at Ramsgate station in KentA closed ticket office at Ramsgate station in KentPA

“However, serious overall concerns remain about how potentially useful innovations, such as ‘welcome points’ would work in practice.

"We also have questions about how the impact of these changes would be measured and how future consultation on staffing levels will work.

“Some train companies were unable to convince us about their ability to sell a full range of tickets, handle cash payments and avoid excessive queues at ticket machines.

“Passengers must be confident they can get help when needed and buy the right ticket in time for the right train.”

Mark HarperTransport Secretary Mark HarperPA

Harper added: "The consultation on ticket offices has now ended, with the government making clear to the rail industry throughout the process that any resulting proposals must meet a high threshold of serving passengers.

"We have engaged with accessibility groups throughout this process and listened carefully to passengers as well as my colleagues in parliament.

"The proposals that have resulted from this process do not meet the high thresholds set by ministers, and so the government has asked train operators to withdraw their proposals.

"We will continue our work to reform our railways with the expansion of contactless Pay As You Go ticketing, making stations more accessible through our Access for All programme and £350m funding through our Network North plan to improve accessibility at up to 100 stations."

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