Our submission to the consultation on ticket offices

We argue that closing ticket offices is unnecessary and will result in a worse service for passengers.

Lewes Liberal Democrats arguments against, and questions about, closing ticket offices

1)   Closure of up to about 1,000 ticket offices across England will punish passengers, including the elderly and disabled.

2)   A 21-day public consultation ending on 26th July is just not long enough for such an important change.

3)   The Rail Delivery Group says changes are designed to move staff out of ticket offices and onto station platforms and concourses. In Lewes there is very little room on the 'concourse' especially as passengers needing help are hemmed in on one side by the cafe and in front of them the ticket gates and behind them the ticket machine and photo booth. 

4)   It seems odd that the Rail Delivery Group refers to staff being positioned on 'station platforms.' In Lewes, what good is this when staff on platforms are behind the ticket barriers where passengers needing help with ticketing cannot access until they have a ticket?  

5)   What is the reason for closing the ticket office when Ministers say it isn't about redundancies? 

6)   Ticket office windows offer protection for staff against unruly members of the public - will there be security for staff when they are on the concourse?

7)   Ticket offices enable semi disabled people to be employed - how will they cope when they are on the concourse? 

8)   The Liberal Democrats support disabled campaigners who have launched a legal challenge to the closure of ticket offices See: www.leighday.co.uk/news/news/2023-news/disabled-people-launch-legal-challenge-to-consultation-over-planned-closure-of-rail-ticket-offices/ 

9)   Visually impaired travellers need help when buying a ticket - will there be enough staff available under the new scheme to help these people. 

10) We support the Association of British Commuters in the opposition to the closures.

11) We support Railfuture in their opposition to the closures - see their 101 questions: www.railfuture.org.uk/Press-Release-12th-July-2023

Regarding "Ticketing assistance" : -  

12) How many ticketing assistants will there be at peak times? 
13) What happens when both of the ticket machines in Lewes are faulty?

14) How will the new system work for people who need help on travel options before purchasing tickets and do not have access to a full computer screen as ticket office staff have at present?

15) How will closing ticket offices help tourists and visitors to the UK?

16) How will closing of ticket offices persuade people to use rail transport instead of using cars and thus helping to lower our carbon footprint?

17) How will a "ticketing assistant" carrying a cumbersome ticket machine on a strap round their necks together with a small computer tablet be able to cope with rush hour queues and queries from passengers? 

18) Other countries such as France and Spain managed to provide ticket offices to help passengers so why not here in the UK? 

19) What are the Government and the Rail Delivery Group proposing to use the ticket offices for? These areas are equipped with good size computer screens and ticket payment arrangements for both cash and credit card.  Isn't this a waste of resources?

20) The current ticketing system is antiquated as are the gating systems. Surely the government should invest in the recommendations of the Williams Rail Review and adopt technology fit for the 21st century before fiddling around with personnel resources which will have no benefit to the travelling public?  See: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/the-williams-rail-review  

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