Train companies, including London Midland, Chiltern Railways, East Midlands, East Coast, London Midlands, Northern Rail, Southeastern and South West Trains, have submitted proposals to Ministers to either close or reduce the opening hours at station ticket offices, a parliamentary answer to Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary has revealed.
The proposed cuts to ticket offices follow fare rises of up to 11 per cent at the start of this year, which are to be followed by further rises of up to 8 per cent above inflation in each of the next two years.
Maria Eagle MP, Labour's Shadow Transport Secretary, said:
"The Government has been forced to admit the scale of closures and reduced opening hours being planned by train companies despite months spent denying ticket offices were already under threat.
"Passengers have already been stung by inflation-busting fare rises this year and now face cuts to services, yet the train companies continue to make substantial profits in an industry that receives £4billion of tax-payers money each year. Just for once Ministers must stand up to the train companies on behalf of passengers and block these plans which will inconvenience rail users and make it harder to secure the cheapest ticket available.
"The Government should look seriously at Labour’s proposals to devolve responsibility for rail, including stations and ticket offices, enabling communities to have a greater say over fares and services through accountable transport authorities."