1 December 2016
RMT Press Office:
RMT condemns rail profiteers plan to axe thousands of ticket offices and staff.
RAIL UNION RMT has condemned a report by rail bosses which aims to see the abolishment of paper tickets, ticket machines and ticket offices by 2020.
In October, the Rail Delivery Group absorbed the rail employers association (Association of Train Operating Companies) and it hasn’t taken them long in presenting their latest wheeze for cutting more jobs and ripping-off passengers. In a report seen by the RMT entitled “How we are making it easier to buy a train ticket” the RDG aim to “revolutionise the ticket retail system” by abolishing paper tickets, ticket machines and ticket offices by 2020.
With all the usual sales and marketing patter, RDG claim their plan will save resources and money, whilst personalising rail services for customers, saving them time and reducing stress.
Claiming that “everyone wins with the new ticketing system” RDG are confident that they can frog march rail staff and passengers toward a bright new age. But by stating that “long established regulations governing rail fares – well intentioned and designed to protect customers – are now preventing train companies from being able to modernise the system and give simpler fares which they can trust” the RDG give their profiteering game away. These same companies have relentlessly increased ticket prices by as much as 200% for “unregulated” travel, such as off-peak leisure and advance-purchase tickets. In the future they want total freedom from regulation, to do just as they want, with no staff available to answer questions or issue tickets. By closing a staggering 1346 ticket offices train companies will save costs, free up the space to exploit commercially and thousands of staff will lose their jobs.
Mick Cash ,RMT General Secretary, said:
“This is what happens when the fox is put in charge of the hen house. The train companies will always try and dress this up as irresistible innovation resulting in lower fares but all the savings will be ploughed back into company coffers to pay dividends. It is also about the Government telling them to cut operational costs so the Treasury can reduce its subsidy and make the passengers pay through the nose whilst suffering higher prices and a poorer service.
“Transport Focus must now hold an inquiry as passengers, when surveyed and asked if they want their ticket office, overwhelmingly say they do and that they value staff assistance when buying tickets.
“Given this latest plan to slash jobs and services in the rail industry, RMT demand an urgent parliamentary statement from the Rail Minister, as the government will make the ultimate decision on this massacre of ticket offices.”