So many constituents have written in to me about the rail ticket office closure plans, clearly showing how unpopular these plans are. In my view there are so many reasons why ticket offices in train stations should not be closed I don’t know where to start.
I have today written to the minister about this (see below), and I went on picket lines including one at Finsbury Park station to lobby against this. I also wrote to the CEO of Govja Thameslink after that picket (see below).
I am waiting to see what the minister and Thameslink CEO have to say about this in reply.
London TravelWatch had a consultation which remained open until 1st September and here is their link and information: (https://www.londontravelwatch.org.uk/ticket-offices-have-your-say/).
I will keep doing what I can to argue against this dreadful proposal and thank you for all your support in this.
Letter to Secretary of State
Dear Secretary of State,
I am writing this email on behalf of several of my constituents and I know many people all around the country who are very concerned that railway ticket offices are going to close.
This is clearly a very bad mistake for so many reasons. I’m sure you would agree with many of the objections that have been made, such as problems for the disabled, non-English speaking people, elderly, women travelling alone, the list goes on. In fact many of the concerns I come across are from ordinary people who simply cannot fathom the concept of there being no assistance available at most train stations.
Obviously, this is a cost cutting exercise, but there is surely a risk of an incident arising that can be shown to have resulted from no staff on a railway station? Just keeping staff at the busiest stations will not necessarily avoid this.
Furthermore, have you considered the situation where in retrospect staff must be deployed because it becomes clear that it has been a mistake to close a particular ticket office, where will staff be located? If you were to defend this action based on “we’re only mothballing the physical offices themselves”, this is still wholly unacceptable, because you are still putting the public in danger, and making life very hard or even impossible by not having a human face to the assistance extended to the public, which they are paying for through ticket purchase.
I attach two of my constituent’s emails because they describe the issues very thoroughly.
I look forward to hearing from you and I will, in the meanwhile, be encouraging my constituents to respond to the Transport for London consultation in the short time available for it.
Letter to Mr Verwer, CEO, Govja Thameslink
I am writing this letter just one day after I stood in solidarity with an Islington Pensioner Forum (IPF)
group protesting the proposed ticket office closures at Finsbury Park Station, As you will be aware,
they are just a few of the very many people all around the country who are anxious about this
Closing railway ticket offices is clearly a very bad mistake for so many reasons. I’m sure you would
agree with many of the objections that have been made, such as problems for the disabled, non-
English speaking people, elderly, women travelling alone, tourists, the list goes on and on.
Significantly, in Finsbury Park, it is a cost cutting exercise that will have a huge impact on the very
many users, local and all around the country, who pass through such a busy station. I have yet to meet
one person who does not feel these closures will backfire enormously.
There are so many risks associated with this plan and they vary in significance, from the possibility of
a serious incident occurring that can be shown to have been a result of no staff on a railway station,
to the sheer inconvenience and frustration users will feel when they need travel information. The
vulnerable as always will be affected worse.
I am keen to hear that whichever way this bigger decision goes, and I believe consultations are
ongoing, and I am in no doubt that you will be hearing from MPs and travellers all around the
country, that you’ll seriously considering making Finsbury Park exempt from these closures due to
the horrendous impact such a move would have.
Last but not least, in my view, the public image that users will have of rail companies should this
move go ahead will be as bad as it can get.
I look forward to hearing from you.