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‘Delight’ as plans to close rail ticket offices are scrapped

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Controversial plans to close railway station ticket offices in England have been scrapped.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the Government had asked rail operators to cancel their proposals.

DSC8125 | 'Delight' as plans to close rail ticket offices are scrapped
Mark Harper MP (centre), Secretary of State for Transport. Picture: Matt Bigwood.

Plans to close the ticket offices had been opposed by trades unions and disability groups when more than 1,000 station booking offices were set to close as the Government looked at ways of reducing costs of running the railways.

Passenger watchdogs Transport Focus and London Travelwatch, who opposed the closures, said they’d received 750,000 responses in a public consultation.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said closing ticket offices was ‘the right thing for the British public and British taxpayers’ as ‘only one in 10 tickets are sold currently in ticket offices’.

Dr Simon Opher, Labour Party parliamentary candidate for the Stroud constituency, who campaigned to keep the ticket offices open, said: “I’m delighted that the Government has been forced to U-turn over their disastrous and unpopular decision to close ticket offices at railway stations.

Ticket office closure protest 1 of 4 | 'Delight' as plans to close rail ticket offices are scrapped
From left: Dave Townsend, National Pensioners Convention, Bob Blenkinsop, UNITE, Dr Simon Opher, Ruth Amias, Gloucester and District Trades Council, and David Whitfield at Stroud Railway Station in August.

“In Stroud, both myself and the Labour Party, together with the RMT union, fought hard to reverse this decision. Although our Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, thought it was a good idea, a huge number of Stroud residents campaigned to save the ticket office. And we have won. 

“Let’s now get together and rebuild our railway services for everyone. It’s a great day for Stroud.”

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