Ticket offices set to close at both Worksop and Retford railway stations in modernisation drive
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The Rail Delivery Group has announced plans to move staff out of ticket offices and into stations, with the consultation on these significant changes to last just 21 days .
A spokesman for RDG said: “The public consultation, which will last 21 days for passengers, could see the closure of a number of ticket offices across the network as staff move out from behind the glass.
"It is being launched against the backdrop of long-running industrial action by rail unions RMT and ASLEF over changes necessary to bring the railway up to date and make it sustainable in the long term, with revenue continuing to languish at 30 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.
"As RMT talks stalled due to their refusal to put a pay and jobs guarantee offer to its membership, train companies must now move ahead with essential reforms to bring the industry in line with the modern retailing, while maintaining valuable staff contact for customers.”
The move has been criticised by Bassetlaw parliamentary hopeful Jo White.
She said: “"This news will be deeply worrying, particularly for elderly and disabled Bassetlaw residents, local people who are employed in the rail industry,and all those who rely on the support and advice provided by staff in ticket offices.“It was concerning to hear Government Minister for Transport Mark Harper defending the closures when stats show that one in nine tickets are still sold at physical ticket offices, representing over 150 million of the 1.4 billion rail journeys recorded over the past year.
“I have written to the Managing Director of LNER, David Horne and to the Managing Director of Northern Rail, Nick Donovan to express my concerns, and asked the following questions:
- What will happen to the rail staff currently deployed in rail ticket offices at Retford and Worksop Stations?
- What will the impact be on their job security?
- What the impact of ticket office closures will be on the safety and accessibility of the local rail network for disabled and elderly passengers?
- When will digital and pay as you go ticketing technology be available across the whole of your existing network?
"Many of the passengers who rely on ticket offices will be elderly and disabled rail users that may otherwise struggle to use digital alternatives.
"Passengers in Bassetlaw are already suffering due to the chaos on our railways. They should not have to face any further disruptions to their travel plans due to rushed changes to our rail networks.
"Passengers want to feel safe on station platforms and confident that they will get any support they need. I cannot see how this will increase sales and passenger numbers during these difficult times. It is vital that staff have clarity about their job security and that vulnerable passengers have certainty that they will not be forgotten about as changes are made to the way our stations operate."