An update – from Ellie Farrar In Larkhall, Bath – about an online petition demanding that the government require train operators to KEEP ticket offices and platform staff at train stations. Sadly, it’s not good news.
‘I know many of your readers will be interested in this update – a sad conclusion, and one which
may drive people away from trains, cutting some groups further off from their families or friends.’
She has copied me the government response, as follows:
The rail industry has consulted on plans to modernise to provide the service passengers deserve, moving staff from behind ticket office screens to provide help and advice in customer-focused roles.
Together with the rail industry, we want to improve and modernise the experience for passengers by moving staff out from behind the ticket office screens to provide more help and advice in customer-focused roles in the station. No currently staffed station will become unstaffed as a result of this reform, with staff still being there to provide assistance and additional support at stations for those who need and want it. This would include providing assistance in purchasing tickets and providing customer information.
When consulting, train operators were required to follow the rules set out in the rail industry’s Ticketing and Settlement Agreement (TSA), and the Government has no role unless objections are referred to the Secretary of State for a decision. We do not therefore plan to require train operators to keep ticket offices and platform staff at train stations.
There has been a significant shift in the way passengers purchase tickets, with just one in every ten transactions taking place at a ticket office in 2022/23, down from one in three a decade earlier. This is equivalent to 13% of revenue in 2022/23. Train operators have therefore consulted on proposals to close ticket offices and move staff out onto stations where they can provide support to passenger where this is needed.
The public consultations on proposed ticket office changes have now closed. The independent passenger bodies, Transport Focus and London TravelWatch, are engaging with train operators on the basis of the consultation responses they have received and the criteria they have set out on how they will consider their responses.
Train operators are expected to work collaboratively with passenger bodies in the coming weeks to listen to the concerns raised and to refine their proposals accordingly.
Should ticket offices close following this process, staff would be redeployed and multi-skilled in order to provide advice and assistance across stations. Exact arrangements will vary operator by operator and will be the subject of collective bargaining with the trade unions.
Department for Transport
This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/636542
Click this link to view the response online:
This petition has over 100,000 signatures. The Petitions Committee will consider it for a debate. They can also gather further evidence and press the government for action.
The Committee is made up of 11 MPs, from political parties in government and in opposition. It is entirely independent of the Government. Find out more about the Committee: https://petition.parliament.uk/help#petitions-committee