20 September 2021
RMT Press Office:
Coalition of organisations join together to oppose cuts at LNER ticket offices.
A coalition of organisations have today joined together to oppose train operator LNER’s proposed cuts to 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 earlier, and in many cases would lead to a significant reduction in opening hours.
The organisations have submitted a joint letter in response to the public consultation being held by Transport Focus and London TravelWatch, which closes on Monday 20th September.
The letter is signed by the following trade unions, campaign groups and charities: RMT; TSSA; TUC; STUC; We Own It; Friends of the Earth Scotland; National Pensioners Convention; Disabled People Against Cuts and End Violence Against Women Coalition.
The letter highlights that that ‘staffed ticket offices make the rail network more safe, secure and accessible for passengers’ and that ‘certain groups, such as elderly passengers, disabled passengers, and women and girls may be particularly disadvantaged by the proposals’.
The letter goes on to say that the proposals will make it far easier for the company to reduce station staffing in the future; will restrict the amount and quality of advice passengers can access at the ticket office and will deter passengers from using the sustainable and low carbon rail network.
For these reasons, the signatories are calling on Transport Focus and London TravelWatch to oppose all of the proposed cuts to ticket office hours at LNER stations.
- Worsen passenger safety, security and accessibility by reducing the time that staff are guaranteed to be present at the ticket office. Once ticket office opening hours are no longer regulated by Schedule 17 requirements it makes it far easier for companies to reduce station staffing and in many instances reducing ticket office hours has eventually led to a reduction in staffing.
- Make it harder for passengers to get the cheapest and most appropriate fare for their journey and restrict the advice they can currently access in the ticket office. The cuts will be particularly detrimental for older and disabled passengers, and people on lower incomes who may not have access to digital ticketing.
- Deter passengers from using the rail network and hinder the post-Covid recovery of the railway which is a sustainable and low carbon form of transport. This is completely at odds with the UK Government’s climate change targets.
- The amount and quality of advice that Ticket office staff can provide should also be taken into account. As well as undertaking transactions many passengers use the LNER ticket office for advice on the type of transaction they should undertake. LNER should publish a comprehensive assessment of the advice that may no longer be available if their plans go ahead.
- The LNER consultation document that has been provided admits that there could be 12 transactions an hour at each ticket office. 12 transactions under DFT guidance is counted as “busy.” So, as well as the reasons outlined above even on this narrow definition of ticket office viability is appears that LNER’s proposals have not been properly thought through.
Manuel Cortes – General Secretary – TSSA
Paul Novak - Deputy General Secretary - TUC
Roz Foyer – General Secretary – STUC
Cat Hobbs – Director – We Own It
Gavin Thomson - Transport Campaigner - Friends of the Earth Scotland
Ron Douglas – President, Jan Shortt – General Secretary and Peter Rayner – Senior Vice President – National Pensioners Convention
Linda Burnip – Founder – Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC )
Andrea Simon – Director - End Violence Against Women Coalition”