Unions are warning that government cuts could lead to the closure of a quarter of all ticket offices at railway stations across England and Wales. The move could also lead to the loss of around 1,000 jobs. According to the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, a report commissioned by the government suggests 675 stations across the country which could be left without staff.
The list of stations appears in a railway industry savings report which has been authored by Sir Roy McNulty. Allegedly, the recommendation for ticket office closures does not appear in the summary of the report and was discovered by the TSSA after it trawled through the hundreds of pages of the complete document.
General Secretary of the TSSA, Gerry Doherty, has asked Transport Secretary Philip Hammond to reject the recommendation as it will result in stations becoming less safe and train tickets less easy to purchase. Doherty also warned that replacing ticket offices with machines often meant that the price of travel became more expensive.
The union has launched a campaign which it will be taking to the party conferences in an effort to persuade ministers to protect their constituencies’ railway ticket offices.
The government is due to review McNulty’s report in full next month. A Department for Transport spokesman said that ministers would be examining the proposals contained within the independent report in due course including any changes suggested for ticketing and rail fares. RMT general secretary, Bob Crow, said ticket office closures would create a criminals’ paradise on the rail network.