The fiction that train operating companies are independent of Government has been even further exposed by the Tory U-turn on closure of station ticket offices. The sneaky two-week consultation was extended after an outcry of condemnation and finally, as they say elsewhere, ‘The results are in’.
There were a massive 750,000 replies to the consultation with almost all of them opposing the closure of 1,007 station ticket offices.
The most vocal were groups representing people with a whole range of disabilities. I was one of the objectors.
I recently asked at the Farnham ticket office which was cheapest for my journey to and from east London: a one-day travel card or an ordinary off-peak return. I don’t believe a machine on the forecourt could have given me an accurate and swift reply. The 13 per cent of travellers who do not have season tickets or pre book on-line need this sort of service.
Sunak said: “Ticket office closure is right thing for British public and British taxpayers.” Clearly, he has changed his mind. But now the Government has backed down we need to be vigilant.
I advise all readers to make a note of the advertised ticket office opening hours at their nearest station and watch out for the gradual whittling down of opening hours that I suspect may follow.
Secretary, Farnham Labour
I've just heard on the radio, 11am Tuesday, that station office closures are being withdrawn, because of the extent of the opposition. Well done everyone! It means we can make a difference. The big bullies and battalions need not win every time! It’s worth protesting about, if it matters to you.
St James’ Terrace, Farnham