TSSA today (Wednesday) used the first day of the Balmoral Show to protest against Northern Ireland Railway’s plans to close almost all ticket offices on the railway.
The union, which represents staff on the railway, wrote to all Northern Ireland MPs and MLAs yesterday to raise their concerns.
Northern Ireland Railway intends to replace ticket offices with Ticket vending machines and automatic barriers. TSSA says the machines will cause confusion for passengers over pricing, making it harder to find the cheapest and best options tickets for any journey. The union also argues that the decision would negatively impact disabled and elderly passengers in particular.
TSSA Organiser, Gary Kelly said, “Any proposal to replace a member of staff with a machine would be a terrible decision, not only for our members who face being made redundant, but for the communities that depend upon their local ticket offices.
“Passengers depend on the ticket offices, not just for ticket sales but also for advice, safety, and assistance.
“The move will particularly affect vulnerable communities who need extra support. Ticket vending machines and automatic barriers can’t help disabled or elderly passengers on and off the train. Northern Ireland Railways need to drastically rethink their plans and retain the ticket offices for the good of their passengers and the communities they serve.
Northern Ireland goes to the polls in council elections next week. I would urge voters to make their views known to council candidates.”
Notes to Editors
TSSA’s Letter to MLAs is attached.
On the Belfast to Derry/Londonderry route alone there are no fewer than 27 different ticket types available to purchase. A member of ticket office staff would be able to recommend the appropriate ticket to a passenger.