Is it end of the line for manned ticket offices?

By Jon Walker   |   Senior reporter   |
Wednesday 11th May 2022 1:43 pm
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PETERSFIELD SIGNAL BOX MRW 18/10/2020 Petersfield Signal Box - sits beside the level crossing and Petersfield railway station Picture: Malcolm Wells (201018-0114) Professional Photographer Mobile: 07802 217 569 E: [email protected] (© Malcolm Wells 2015+ All rights reserved )

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MANNED ticket offices at Petersfield, Liss, Liphook and Rowlands Castle rail stations could go under a post-pandemic railway revamp.

They are set to be replaced by contactless ‘tap-and-go’ digital ticketing systems.

The closures are threatened as the government looks to reduce railway funding after the £16billion pandemic bailout.

The changes are on the table as Great British Railways gets set to replace Network Rail next year.

It will take responsibility for ticketing, timetables and network planning as well as the track and stations.

And under the Integrated Rail Plan, £360m is to be invested in a ‘radical reform’ of ‘fares, ticketing and retailing on the railways’.

One focus will be staff costs, and there are plans for ‘contactless ticketing’ at more than 700 stations over the next three years.

This is seen as the first stage of a ‘digital ticketing’ system that rail unions like RMT fear will see a mass closure of ticket offices.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The rail industry has made no secret of its goal of closing all ticket offices, whose staff ensure our railways are safe, secure and accessible.

“Wholesale ticket office closures would be disastrous.

“Disabled and elderly passengers will be particularly affected.”

But the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the entire rail industry, says the pandemic has been a driver for change.

It added: “The pandemic was an unprecedented financial shock to the railway.

“While no decisions have been taken over ticket offices, with changing travel patterns and more passengers migrating to digital technology, many jobs need to change.

“Train companies want to work with unions on those changes, while making sure the industry takes no more than its fair share from the taxpayer.”

For the full list of ticket offices in the firing line visit the website at https://www.rmt.org.uk/news/rmt-reveals-rail-industrys-plan-for-a-cull-of-ticket-offices/

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