Railway station ticket offices across England to close as part of cost-cutting but job losses still unknown
Railway station ticket offices in England face closure in a bid to cut costs.
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Railway station ticket offices across England are set to close as part of a cost-cutting measure, it has been announced. The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said the plans for the mass closure of ticket offices are expected to be unveiled on Wednesday, with the number of jobs at risk still unknown.
According to Sky News, nearly all ticket offices could be shut with only the busiest stations left open with person-operated ticket facilities. On the possible job cuts, the group said: "We can’t prejudge the outcome of the consultations.”
Each regional train operating company will reportedly publish public closure consultation details on their website. Staff affected by closures will then be given the option of moving to a new "multi skilled" role with training provided, the RDG said, with train companies engaging constructively with unions to manage the transition.
Approximately three out of every five train stations in England are equipped with their very own ticket office, the vast majority of which are owned and operated by the various train companies. Train companies in England that are operating under contracts provided by the government are responsible for the operation of the country’s 1,007 stations.
Posters are being displayed at the vast majority of these today informing passengers about the potential closure of the ticket office. However, the decision has faced objections from unions and disability advocates as it will lead to job losses and anti-social behaviour as well as reducing accessibility for disabled passengers.
According to the report, ticket office closures were a contributing factor in various union strikes during the last year. However, the RDG claims that the facilities are no longer required because only 12% of train tickets are purchased from station offices, down from 85% in 1995.
Following the shutdown, travellers who still want to utilise ticket offices will have to do so through self-service machines, workers on the concourse or on trains, or contactless card payments at ticket barriers.
It is estimated that closing all of the offices will take three years. It is unknown when the first closures will occur.