Ticket Office Closures Scrapped!

Tue,31 October 2023
News Equality & Rights Participation Transport

In a massive result for common sense Huw Merriman Minister for Rail announced toady that the rail watch dogs of Transport Focus and Travel Watch London could not approve the plans for Ticket Office closures. As a result The Department for Transport have announced that they will not be pushing it forward, and will abide by the watchdogs decision as the over 700000 responses to the consultation were too big to ignore and the inconsistent responses from the industry regarding the proposed closures made it inevitable that they acted in accord with customer wishes. At a round table meeting attended by Rail Policy Adviser Stephen Brookes said he welcomed the result but added a note of caution by saying that much now needs to be done to move forward in rebuilding confidence for Disabled people travelling by rail. In a comment Stephen raised with the Minister regarding the next steps he said that we now needed to see more inclusion of Disabled people in choices and that there needs to be more clarity regarding the current failure of the Train Operating companies to act more consistently in provision of pricing and supply of rail services. Katie Pennick, Campaigns Manager at Transport for All, said: 

“Today represents the best possible outcome – but it’s not a step forward, instead we have resisted things getting worse. While we are proud of the incredible tenacity of disabled people and our community for securing this major campaign victory, the outcome is bittersweet. The disastrous and discriminatory proposals should never have been put forward.

“It took multiple legal challenges, public uproar, cross party opposition, and ultimately a watchdog decision for the Department for Transport to finally withdraw its support for the closures. Until the eleventh hour, the government were insisting that the plans would improve accessibility, despite unilateral calls from disabled people and our organisations saying otherwise.“Though the government was eventually swayed, it is appalling that disabled people’s concerns were dismissed for so long. We can’t help but wonder what we could achieve if disabled people were listened to and accessibility was prioritised.”

Read more of Transport For All's response on their website.