Many rail ticket workplaces will shut, hints transport secretary

Less than 12 months after lobbying in opposition to shorter ticket workplace hours at her native railway station, the transport secretary has hinted that many will shut altogether.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan instructed the Conservative convention in Birmingham that she is “looking at reforming ticket office provision”.

She mentioned solely 12 per cent of rail tickets are at present bought by way of ticket workplaces, with the rest supplied on-line or from machines.

The new transport secretary mentioned there will likely be “some stations” the place a ticket workplace would stay – however that at others employees may very well be redeployed within the station to assist passengers.

“This is not about cutting jobs,” she mentioned. “This is about putting passengers first.”

The RMT union is campaigning in opposition to ticket workplace closures. On Saturday the general secretary, Mick Lynch, told The Independent: “We cannot accept the closure of all the ticket offices in Britain. That’s what’s on the table.”

Less than a 12 months in the past, Ms Trevelyan campaigned in opposition to plans “to dramatically reduce” ticket workplace hours at Berwick-upon-Tweed – the station serving her constituency.

Managers from the state-run prepare operator, LNER, met her to debate the proposals.

On her constituency website, she wrote: “I was grateful to the LNER team for taking the time to meet me today, and for hearing me out.

“They took time to listen to the concerns of Berwick passengers, and I explained why it is so important to have access to ticket staff, especially for more elderly or vulnerable passengers.

“They promised me they would take my concerns into consideration, and keep me informed of how the consultation progresses.”

Before Ms Trevelyan’s speech on the convention in Birmingham, a Department for Transport (DfT) spokesperson mentioned: “No final decision has been taken on ticket offices.

“Station staff are vital for passengers’ safety and passengers will always benefit from face-to-face assistance at train stations.

“The reality is ticket offices have seen a significant decline in use over the last decade, and by making station staff more adaptable we will have a better railway for passengers and taxpayers.”

The transport secretary mentioned she had campaigned for years for the dualling of the A1 trunk street by way of her constituency, and that the mission could be accelerated. She additionally promised swift enhancements to the A303 hyperlink by way of Wiltshire.

“The A303 acts as a bottleneck to growth,” she mentioned.

Ms Trevelyan earned her longest spherical of applause for saying: “We have set aside a pothole fund to repair 10 million potholes a year.”

She was talking on the eve of another national rail strike. Train drivers belonging to Aslef who work for 13 rail corporations, together with LNER, Avanti West Coast and Northern, are strolling out all day on Wednesday in a dispute over pay,

The RMT has known as one other nationwide strike for Saturday 8 October.

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