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Ticket office closures is 'diabolical' decision

The proposed closure of nearly all the remaining 1,007 railway ticket offices on the UK rail network is a "diabolical" decision, one rail employee told me today.

In my view, it is modernisation gone mad.

As always, the most vulnerable will be hardest hit by yet another attempt to remove human beings from an everyday interaction.

I am appalled, and being a regular train user I know how vital these offices are for anyone who struggles to use a machine, has sight issues, isn't confident with automation and who does not want to, or can't purchase their tickets online and use a smartphone.

Once again the government is thinking of just one thing - the bottom financial line - and not taking into account the impact this move will have on people who we should be encouraging onto public transport. Especially given the need to get as many people as possible out of cars and onto public transport.

This snapshot of twenty minutes at Totnes Railway station today shows what a normal day is like in a rural rail station:

Purabi was going for a job interview in Exeter and her bus hadn't come. She was in a panic and didn't know which station to buy a ticket for, or which platform to go to. She had never got a train in Totnes before. The ticket office was temporarily closed, so I helped her use the machine to buy a ticket, and directed her to the correct platform.

A family on holiday were looking for the Steam Railway (a different station and not obvious from the train station). I showed them where to go.

And another woman was confused about which train to get on, because of delayed arrivals. She asked the ticket office employee to advise which would get her home first.

"I live in Cornwall and always use the ticket office," she told me. "I've never seen it empty, there are always at least two or three other people queuing when I go in."

The ticket office employee told me she couldn't imagine doing her job while standing on a platform holding a tablet.

"People come in here with complicated requests, I help disabled and elderly people, people who can't use the machines. I think the railway should be open and accessible for everyone."

Please sign this petition to keep Totnes rail station ticket office open - I will share it with our MP.

And you can respond to the government consultation too, by emailing TicketOffice.GWR@transportfocus.org.uk

Thank you


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