TSSA took the case to save ticket offices to the Department for Transport (DfT) in central London on Tuesday, alongside campaign groups We Own It, Bring Back British Rail and fellow rail union ASLEF.
Carrying placards demanding ‘Cut their Profits, Not our Ticket Offices’, ‘Hands off our Ticket Offices’ and ‘Don’t Let the Shutters Come Down’, the protestors descended on the DfT to hand in an open letter calling on the Government to shelve its “cruel and unnecessary” plans to close nearly every railway ticket office in England.
The proposal united rail unions, disability and pensioner groups in condemnation. TSSA has been campaigning against the plans since their announcement, and nearly half a million people have responded to an online consultation on the closures.
Rail firms themselves have since admitted that rail users - in particular elderly people and those with disabilities - would be prevented from travelling by train, and more at risk of anti-social behaviour, under the closures.
The letter addressed to the Government stated: ‘At a time when the government should be working to make rail an attractive public transport option for the public, we should be seeing plans to open new ticket offices in stations without them, rather than plans to close the ticket offices that we do have.
‘With England’s complicated and fragmented ticketing system, ticket offices currently provide all kinds of rail users, not just those that lack digital skills or a smartphone, with support to purchase the right tickets for their journey.’
The protest coincided with the final week of the consultation, which will close at 23:59 on Friday 1 September. TSSA has vowed this isn’t the end of the fight, and plans to redirect efforts towards a petition to keep ticket offices open once the consultation closes.