No plans for mass closure of railway station ticket offices in Wales
Transport for Wales (TfW) has confirmed it has no plans for a mass closure of railway station ticket offices.
The announcement comes after Industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) sparked fury yesterday after announcing proposals which could lead to nearly all ticket offices in England being shut.
This includes those at some of the UK’s busiest stations, such as London Paddington, London Waterloo, London Euston, Birmingham New Street and Manchester Piccadilly.
Its proposal come after the UK Government’s Transport Secretary Mark Harper wrote to train operators asking them to cut costs.
Marie Daly, Chief Culture and Customer Officer at TfW said: “The Welsh Government and Transport for Wales are not in scope of the ticket office announcement made by the Department for Transport train operators in England.
“We do not have any plans to reduce the number of staff at our stations and we will continue to work in a social partnership with our Trade Unions as part of regular dialogue on how we deliver the best possible service to meet the needs of our customers.
“TfW does not plan to make similar wholesale changes to ticket offices in Wales, to the ticket offices that we manage in England (Chester, Hereford, Leominster, Runcorn East, or Shrewsbury) or to the ticket offices operated by our retail agents”.
The RDG insisted moving ticket office staff on to station platforms and concourses will “modernise customer service” and pledged there will be “more staff available to give face-to-face help” at stations in England.
Disability charities and trade unions are among those who have voiced their anger at the RDG’s scheme, claiming it will lead to job losses and put some vulnerable passengers off train travel.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, which has been engaged in more than a year of strike action on the railways in a bitter dispute over jobs, pay and conditions, described the closure policy as “a savage attack on railway workers, their families and the travelling public”.
General secretary Mick Lynch said “hundreds of redundancy notices” are being issued to ticket office staff.
A consultation process with affected staff has begun, where they will be offered new roles.
Rail operators in England say they hope to avoid compulsory redundancies.
There are 1,007 stations with ticket offices in England run by train companies operating under contracts issued by the UK Government.
Following a consultation, operators will select which offices they want to close, with the UK Transport Secretary making the final decision in cases where there is an objection by a passenger watchdog.
It is not known how quickly the first sites will close, but the programme is expected to last for three years.
The RDG said 12% of train tickets are bought from offices at stations, down from 82% in 1995.
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