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'Better Rail' campaign as Ministers sharpen axe

7 March 2012

One In Four Booking Offices Under Threat

A Save our Stations campaign was launched today to stop Ministers axeing 675 smaller ticket offices across England and Wales.

It comes on the eve of the publication of the Government's long awaited response to the McNulty Report which calls on Ministers to allow private train operating companies the freedom to axe all Category E booking offices, those that open for fewer than 12 hours a day at smaller stations.

The TSSA rail union has formed a special community organising team to work with local councils and transport groups to fight the closures.

"If the local booking office goes, then the station itself will not be far behind it," warned union general secretary Manuel Cortes.

"Justine Greening must reject the siren voices of the train operating companies which want the freedom to close one in four of all booking offices.

"This will amount to a mini Beeching with hundreds of stations in rural areas facing the threat of long term closures altogether.

"An unstaffed station is a less safe station, particularly for the elderly and young women travelling alone at night.

"And the introduction of ticket machines will mean higher fares because the machines dispense fewer and more expensive tickets than a booking office."

As well as green lighting ticket office closures, the Transport Secretary is also expected to allow the TOCs to charge more for off peak fares immedietly after morning and evening peak travel times.

At present, cheaper travel applies after 9.30am and outside 4.30 and 7.00pm in the South East. Higher off peak fares are exepected to be allowed between 9.30 and 10.30am and between 7.00 and 8.00pm in the evening.

Mr Cortes added:"We already have the highest fares in Europe and the Secretary of tate will be making a huge mistake if she believes the industry's problems will be solved by allowing the private train comoanies to make even more money at the expense of passengers."

ends

Note to Newsdesk: The full list of Category E stations under threat can be found on the Together for Transport website.

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