Over the summer I was contacted by many constituents, expressing concerns over The Rail Delivery Group’s plans to close virtually all 1,000 of our ticket offices nationally.
I was in touch with GWR and was grateful for their communications. While I understood the value of “getting out from behind the glass” and the need to respond to the next generational shift in customer behaviour, I – along with others – was equally concerned that this so called “modernisation” could be a smokescreen providing a chance to alter the regulations and enable the start of further de-staffing of stations and trains. More practically, I worried that removing staff from a visible, designated point would increase safety and security concerns, especially for elderly or disabled passengers.
I, therefore, welcomed the news last week, following a lengthy consultation, that Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the government had asked train operators to withdraw their proposals because they failed to meet high passenger standards.
I look forward to working with the Department of Transport as it continues to invest in improving the passenger experience at railway stations nationally.