RDG presses ahead with ticket office closure plan

After a year of unsuccessful negotiations with the RMT union, the Rail Delivery Group looks set to impose widespread ticket office closures in England.

Having spent a week dodging speculation after the plan surfaced in late June, the RDG announced on July 5 that it is starting a statutory 21-day consultation with passengers to close ticket offices.

It has not disclosed how many ticket offices will close, or named those that will survive.

“The railway is too vital to those who depend on it for negotiations to continue to go round in circles, with a union seemingly intent on prolonging the current dispute,” the RDG told RAIL in late June.

The move is expected to include redundancy for staff who do not want to transfer to a station concourse role.

Justifying its announcement, the RDG said: “Bringing staff out from offices would allow the railway to respond to that generational shift in customer behaviour, in common with many other organisations that have long since done so, such as Transport for London, most airlines, many banks and supermarkets.” Rail Minister Huw Merriman revealed in a Parliamentary answer that the closures have the Government’s blessing. Merriman would also be responsible for over-ruling any closure objections made by passenger watchdog Transport Focus.

The news provoked anger from unions and passenger groups, with the threat of legal challenges related to discrimination.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch was blunt: “The Government must understand that we will vigorously oppose any moves to close ticket offices.”

Read this article in full in RAIL issue 987 here

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  • M.Harper - 12/07/2023 11:10

    Transport Minister, Huw Merriman, said during the emergency questions debate in Parliament last week on this subject, that booking office staff would be redeployed from "behind the glass" & onto the concourse/platform where they can better serve passengers. He also said that no station that's currently staffed would be unstaffed after these changes. Well, he obviously lied to Parliament, because EMR are proposing that all their small stations that are currently staffed will become unstaffed, along with Chesterfield, East Midlands Parkway, Market Harborough & Wellingborough on the MML!

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