The train company LNER is consulting on proposals to reduce the ticket office opening hours at Berwick-upon-Tweed; Darlington; Doncaster; Durham; Edinburgh; Grantham; London King's Cross; Newark North Gate; Newcastle; Peterborough; Retford; Wakefield Westgate and York train stations.
The proposals would see the ticket offices at these major stations open later and close easier, and in many cases would lead to a significant reduction in opening hours.
RMT is calling on the passenger watchdogs Transport Focus and London TravelWatch to oppose all of the proposed cuts to ticket office hours and for LNER to withdraw its proposals.
Why is this important?
Staffed ticket offices make the rail network more safe, secure and accessible for passengers. Ticket offices and travel shops provide a wide range of services and advice in addition to ticket sales that passengers cannot access from Ticket Vending Machines and online ticketing platforms.
RMT believes that LNER's proposals to reduce ticket office hours at these 13 stations would worsen passenger safety, security and accessibility and make it easier to reduce staffing at these stations.
The cuts would also make it harder for passengers to get the cheapest and most appropriate tickets and restrict the advice they can access at the ticket office.
The cuts will also deter passengers from using the rail network and are completely at odds with the the UK Government's climate change targets.
RMT believes that the cuts will be particularly damaging for some groups including disabled passengers, elderly passengers and people on lower incomes who may not have access to digital ticketing.
Transport Focus' own passenger research, published in October 2020, found that ‘staff play a central role in helping passengers feel safe and secure’ and that passengers want to see more rather than less rail staff. Cuts to ticket office hours run counter to this.
For these reasons, RMT believes that the proposals must be withdrawn and the current ticket office hours protected.