Last day to comment on train station ticket office closures
Rail companies want to move to all tickets being purchased online, via apps or from ticket machines
Today is your last chance to have a say on the proposed closure of the ticket office at Banbury Train Station and other train stations across the country.
The consultation to review how tickets are sold will close at midnight tonight.
Chiltern Railways wants to move to all tickets being purchased online or via mobile apps before arriving at the station. For anyone unable to do that the self-service ticket vending machines would still be available.
Existing ticket office staff would take on new, multi-skilled ‘customer host’ roles in the station. They would be able to support customers buying tickets at the ticket machines and finding their way around.
Banbury Town Council has submitted its objection to the proposal. A joint letter by Town Mayor Fiaz Ahmed and the Leader of the Council Kieron Mallon said: “Ticket offices don’t just sell tickets. Ticket office staff offer expert assistance in journey planning and finding the best and most economical train routes for passengers.
“Ticket office staff can ensure the appropriate concession is applied to ticket purchases, make sure the public have the correct ticket, let them know when facilities like lifts are out of use, advise on any changes to journeys that may be required, and provide or arrange for sighted guidance to navigate through the station and safely on to the train.”
But rail operators point out that 40% of the rail network already operates without a ticket office.
Jacqueline Starr, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Since the introduction of the smartphone, the numbers using ticket offices have dropped to historic lows and that trend is rapidly accelerating. For rail to survive and thrive long-term, like any responsible industry, we need to change and evolve with our customers.”
She added: “The taxpayer is continuing to subsidise the railway, and we believe that now is the right time to move staff to more flexible, engaging roles so our staff can better support customers face to face with a whole range of needs – from finding the right ticket, to navigating the station and getting support with accessibility needs, while reducing costs to taxpayers.
“We also understand that some customers have particular challenges and they should be supported in any transition. Over the coming weeks, we will work closely with passenger watchdogs to review and adapt individual proposals where necessary.”
The official consultation can be completed here.
Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam