Theresa Villiers MP has welcomed the Government’s announcement today that they have rejected rail industry proposals for many ticket offices to close, including in Barnet.
The Barnet MP submitted a response to the consultation held in the summer on the future of ticket offices in which she asked rail bosses to think again about their plans and do more to engage with disabled people and passenger groups. The proposals consulted on would have seen staff moved out of ticket offices in stations at Oakleigh Park, New Barnet and New Southgate, to be deployed on a range of duties, including advice to passengers on ticket purchase.
Commenting on the announcement by Rail Minister Hugh Merriman, Theresa said “It is good that Ministers have listened to the many thousands of people who took the time to respond to the consultation about ticket offices.”
“While technology such as Oyster in London, and similar systems outside the capital, does mean that ticket-buying habits are changing, the scale of the ticket office changes proposed by the rail industry clearly did not command public support. There was simply insufficient confidence that people would still have access to the advice they need on ticket purchase.”
“The proposal to switch staff to other duties and close ticket offices in stations in my constituency has therefore been withdrawn and will not now happen.”
Ms Villiers spoke to Rail Minister, Huw Merriman, today and received a letter from him stating: “Since the consultations launched in the summer, I have maintained that no currently staffed station should be unstaffed as a result of the changes. I was clear this must be an open and genuine consultation process, and that the changes must deliver the highest quality of service for all users of the railway. I have listened to colleagues in the House and have engaged extensively with all interested parties.
Following further meetings with accessibility groups and the passenger bodies, it has become clear the ticket office proposals do not meet the high thresholds set by Ministers. The Government has therefore communicated to the industry that ticket office reform should not proceed."