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Save our ticket offices

2 November 2011

A campaign has been launched to save staffed ticket offices at nearly a thousand stations in England and Wales after a government commissioned report recommended that they be slashed, reports George Woods.

 Mossley Hill protest

Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle joins TSSA’s Manuel Cortes and others outside the threatened Mossley Hill station in Liverpool during Labour Party conference

THE MCNULTY REPORT (see briefing opposite) proposes that the government encourage train operating companies to close staffed ticket offices at 675 stations across England and Wales and reduce staff hours at a further 302 locations. In total this means that around 40 per cent of stations will be affected.

The unthinking way in which ticket offices have been earmarked for closure casts further doubt on the credibility of McNulty’s findings. One West Midlands ticket office on the hit-list has recently had a million pound refurbishment, courtesy of Network Rail! There are a number of similar horror stories. Smaller ticket offices deserve investment to bring them up to date and improve their accessibility, but the millions already spent on upgrades will be squandered if the government now treats them as unnecessary.

Aside from the very real threat to thousands of ticket office jobs, the impact on communities will be enormous. Staffed ticket offices are vital to maintain safe neighbourhoods, ensure good customer service and for providing assistance to disabled and elderly passengers. Neighbourhoods up and down the country are set to lose out if the government incorporates McNulty’s ticket office advice into its franchise procedures.

Together for Transport, alongside TSSA and other trade unions, community and passenger organisations and faith groups, is mobilising public opposition to the plans. Already, campaign groups have sprung into action, bringing together concerned individuals and organisations to decide on local strategies. For example, some groups are planning to invite representatives of the train operating companies to public rallies to ask them to pledge their commitment to their ticket offices and staff.

To be successful we need your support. If you can join or form a local action group and host a public meeting, you will be helping to put pressure on the government and the train operating companies to listen to what is in the real interests of passengers and workers alike. The government is set to announce their initial response to the McNulty report recommendations in the next few months. We have a window of opportunity to ensure that the demands of the travelling public are in the forefront of their minds when they do.
 

What You Can Do

  • Visit our interactive map online at www.togetherfortransport.org, showing all the stations under threat – is your community on the McNulty hit-list?
  • Contact Together for Transport for a ‘Save Our Stations’ campaign pack and to be put in contact with others in your area. Email info@togetherfortransport.org with your name and postal address
  • Write to your local newspaper about the impact of ticket office closures in your community. For a model letter see below

 Deansgate protest

Tony Lloyd MP, Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party joins the campaign at Deansgate, Manchester

Model letter for your local newspaper

Dear editor, I was concerned to hear that in response to a report produced by Sir Roy McNulty, the government is considering a recommendation to close ticket offices at [list local threatened stations]: train stations we rely on in [insert area]. In total, ticket offices at nearly a thousand stations across England and Wales face the axe.

If these proposals go ahead it will be a disaster for our local community and economy. Without staff, many of these stations will become a mugger’s paradise: unsafe and unwelcoming. Groups representing women and older and disabled passengers are right to have sounded the alarm.

I urge readers to contact their MPs immediately calling on them to oppose the McNulty report’s recommendations. You can find out more about what you can do at www.togetherfortransport.org

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