Teresa has warned that staffed ticket offices at Erith and Belvedere rail stations remain under threat as Transport Secretary Justine Greening last week published the long awaited Rail Reform Paper and review into rail fares and ticketing.
As smaller ‘Category E’ stations, both Erith and Belvedere were earmarked for closure by Sir Roy McNulty in his report into the rail industry in May last year. The Governments’ response last week is light on detail but Ministers are clearly keen on more self service ticket machines in place of dedicated ticket offices.
Responding to the Government review, Teresa said:
“Yes some people are moving towards online purchasing but figures in the Government’s own report show how many older people and disabled people rely on ticket offices. Fifty eight percent of people with Senior Railcards buy their tickets from ticket offices, and the same is true of 51% people with a Disabled Person’s Railcard.
“Giving greater freedoms to rail companies to close ticket offices and provide fewer staff on trains and at stations is not the right way forward. Ticket office staff have the detailed knowledge and experience to make ticket purchasing run smoothly, by giving advice on cheaper fares, validity restrictions and answering customer questions. I value their work and believe they need to stay at our local stations.”
The Government is running a consultation on their rail fares and ticketing review until 28 June. To make a submission please visit http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/dft-2012-09/