Regional transport chiefs hit out at proposed ticket office closures - The Solihull Observer

Regional transport chiefs hit out at proposed ticket office closures

Solihull Editorial 15th Aug, 2023   0

REGIONAL transport chiefs have refused to support controversial proposals to close rail ticket offices, claiming ‘too many issues remained unresolved.’

But the West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) said it agreed in principle on the need to modernise the way stations are managed and staffed.

The changes, put forward by train operators across the region, would see the majority of ticket offices close, including ones in Solihull, Acocks Green, Widney Manor and Shirley.

A consultation on the proposals is currently running and will close on September 1.

Under the plans, all ticket offices in their current form would close over the next three years, apart from several ‘hub stations’, such as Worcester Foregate Street, Birmingham Snow Hill, Sutton Coldfield, University and Wolverhampton.

The WMRE, whose response was submitted on behalf of Transport for West Midlands, said it was particularly concerned the proposals suggested ticket office staff would be withdrawn and 68 stations across the West Midlands would instead be served by ‘mobile, multi-skilled teams.’

The response also sets out a formal objection to plans to close the ticket office at Birmingham New Street.

Other concerns included insufficient information on how passengers with mobility issues and other impairments would be catered for and how often mobile ticket teams would visit each station.

Rail operators said plans would see staff fill ambassador roles, give advice about rail fares and support customers with accessibility needs.

West Midlands Railway, Avanti West Coast and Chiltern Railways said there would be a ‘visible and accessible staff presence’ on ticket concourses and platforms during staff hours.

The firm added just 12 per cent of all tickets were currently sold at offices, compared to 82 per cent in the 1990s and around half of all sales nationally were now made online.

As part of the official response to the consultation, WMRE has also asked for assurance the more detailed concerns raised by the accessibility group ‘Transport for All’ are addressed before any changes are implemented.

Visit to take part in the consultation.


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