Stroud Town Council is concerned about the lack of “meaningful” consultation around the proposed closure of the ticket office at Stroud Railway Station.
Train operators on Wednesday confirmed the government’s proposals to shut down almost all of the 1,007 remaining offices in England, except at the busiest stations, within three years in an attempt to “modernise” the railway.
According to the RDG, the share of train tickets purchased from station offices has dramatically decreased from 85% in 1995 to just 12% today.
As part of the consultations on the ticket office closures, train companies across England will engage with passengers to gather their input.
The RDG also highlighted alternative methods of payment, such as tapping contactless cards on barriers, using self-service machines, or purchasing tickets from staff on station concourses or trains when possible.
Stroud Town Council said there is no easy-to-use online form to capture respondents’ locations and contact details.
“Without such detail how will GWR possibly know where responses are coming from or what station they refer to? It would be easy to forget to mention that we are talking about Stroud specifically,” said Stroud Mayor Stella Parkes.
“Surely such an important consultation as this should have included opportunities for people to talk about it face to face and be station focussed rather than blanket coverage. It is disappointing to see that travellers’ – and staff – opinions are so little valued. It is hard to feel confident that this is truly a consultation rather than a ‘done-deal’.”
Councillors are concerned about the unreliability of the ticket machines and how present the current ticket staff would be on the platform if the proposals go ahead.
“We can understand the need for staff to be out and about helping travellers at big stations eg Paddington or Birmingham New Street. But where would they go in a small station like Stroud,” said Councillor Parkes. “What would they do that they don’t already do? What would the empty ticket office and back offices be used for?”
Unions and others have warned the closures will lead to more strikes, increased crime rates and more difficult journeys for the elderly and vulnerable.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has said that it will vigorously oppose the proposals.
The Town Council is committed to supporting measures to reduce climate change. Public transport plays an important role in reducing carbon omissions.
“Rather than making rail travel easier and more attractive, this consultation could result in making it more inaccessible. Having a ticket office gives customers more choice and more access to information that enables easier travel.”
The Town Council has also asked GWR to enable to ticket machine to take cash.
To find out more about the proposals and to share your views, visit www.gwr.com/haveyoursay or www.transportfocus.org.uk/ticketoffices. Anyone wanting to respond to the consultation in writing can do so by Email TicketOffice.GWR@transportfocus.org.uk or post to: Freepost RTEH-XAGE-BYKZ, Transport Focus PO Box 5594 Southend-on-Sea SS1 9PZ