‘Imminent’ closure risk as thousands of ticket offices face ‘annihilation’

More than a thousand ticket offices are at risk, according to the RMT union Credit:

Over a thousand ticket offices across the country are at risk of an ‘imminent’ cut to opening hours or closure, according to the RMT.

The union claims to have uncovered a change in guidance which it says would clear the war for train operating companies to reduce the number of offices selling tickets.

Any cuts would come as the impact of the pandemic continues to be felt with the railway seeing just two thirds of the number of passengers it had before coronavirus.

Rail bosses responded to the RMT’s claims by acknowledging the pandemic’s ‘unprecedented financial shock to the railway’ while insisting no decisions have been taken yet.

Is your ticket office at risk?

The South's ticket offices at risk - according to the RMT union

C2C

Barking, Basildon, Benfleet, Chafford Hundred, Chalkwell, Dagenham Dock, East Tilbury, Grays, Laindon, Leigh On Sea, Limehouse, London Fenchurch Street, Ockendon, Pitsea, Purfleet, Rainham Essex, Shoeburyness, Southend Central, Southend East, Stanford Le Hope, Thorpe Bay, Tilbury Town, Upminster, West Horndon, Westcliff.

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Great Western Railway

Acton Main Line, Barnstaple, Bath Spa, Bodmin Parkway, Bourne End , Bradford On Avon, Bramley Hants , Bridgwater, Bristol Parkway, Bristol Temple Meads, Burnham Bucks, Camborne, Castle Bar Park, Castle Cary, Charlbury , Cheltenham Spa, Chippenham, Cholsey , Cookham, Crowthorne , Dawlish , Didcot Parkway, Ealing Broadway, Evesham , Exeter Central, Exeter St Davids, Exmouth, Filton Abbey Wood , Frome, Furze Platt , Gloucester, Goring & Streatley, Hanwell, Hayes & Harlington, Henley On Thames , Iver, Kemble, Keynsham, Kingham , Langley, Liskeard, London Paddington, Maidenhead, Moreton In Marsh , Mortimer , Nailsea & Backwell , Newbury, Newton Abbot, North Camp , Oldfield Park, Oxford, Paignton, Pangbourne , Par, Penzance, Pewsey, Plymouth, Reading, Reading West , Redruth, Slough, Southall, St Austell, St Erth, Stonehouse, Stroud, Swindon, Taplow, Taunton, Teignmouth, Thatcham , Theale , Tilehurst, Tiverton Parkway, Torquay, Totnes, Trowbridge, Truro, Twyford, Warminster, West Drayton, West Ealing, Westbury , Weston-super-mare, Windsor & Eton Central , Worcestershire Parkway, Worle, Yate, Yatton, Yeovil Pen Mill

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Island Line

Ryde Esplanade, Shanklin

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South Western Railway

Addlestone, Aldershot, Alton, Andover, Ascot, Ash, Ash Vale, Ashford Surrey, Axminster, Bagshot, Barnes, Basingstoke, Bedhampton, Bentley, Berrylands, Bookham, Bournemouth, Bracknell, Branksome, Brentford, Brockenhurst, Brookwood, Byfleet & New Haw, Camberley, Chandlers Ford, Chertsey, Chessington North, Chessington South, Chiswick, Christchurch, Clandon, Clapham Junction, Claygate, Cobham & Stoke D'abernon, Cosham, Crewkerne, Datchet, Dorchester South, Earley, Earlsfield, Eastleigh, Effingham Junction, Egham, Esher, Ewell West, Fareham, Farnborough Main, Farncombe, Farnham, Feltham, Feniton, Fleet, Fratton, Frimley, Fulwell, Gillingham Dorset, Godalming, Guildford, Hampton, Hampton Court, Hampton Wick, Hamworthy, Haslemere, Havant, Hedge End, Hersham, Hilsea, Hinchley Wood, Hinton Admiral, Honiton, Hook, Horsley, Hounslow, Kingston, Liphook, Liss, London Road Guildford, London Waterloo, Lymington Town, Malden Manor, Martins Heron, Micheldever, Milford Surrey, Mortlake, Motspur Park, Netley, New Malden, New Milton, Norbiton, North Sheen, Overton, Oxshott, Parkstone , Petersfield, Pokesdown, Poole, Portchester, Portsmouth & Southsea, Portsmouth Harbour, Putney, Raynes Park, Richmond, Rowlands Castle, Salisbury, Shepperton, Sherborne, Southampton Airport Parkway, Southampton Central, St Denys, St Margarets (Greater London), Staines, Stoneleigh, Strawberry Hill, Sunbury, Sunningdale, Surbiton (Main), Swanwick, Sway, Swaythling, Teddington, Templecombe, Thames Ditton, Tisbury, Tolworth, Totton, Twickenham, Upper Halliford, Vauxhall, Virginia Water, Walton On Thames, Wandsworth Town, Wareham, West Byfleet, Weybridge, Weymouth, Whitchurch Hants, Whitton, Wimbledon, Winchester, Winchfield, Windsor & Eton Riverside, Winnersh, Winnersh Triangle, Witley, Woking, Wokingham, Wool, Woolston, Worcester Park, Worplesdon, Yeovil Junction

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Southeastern

Albany Park, Ashford Kent, Aylesham, Barming, Barnehurst, Battle, Bearsted, Beckenham Hill, Beckenham Junction, Bellingham, Belvedere, Bexley, Bexleyheath, Bickley, Birchington On Sea, Blackheath, Borough Green & Wrotham, Brixton, Broadstairs, Bromley North, Bromley South, Canterbury East, Canterbury West, Catford, Catford Bridge, Charing, Charlton, Chatham, Chelsfield, Chestfield & Swalecliffe, Chislehurst, Clock House, Crayford, Crofton Park, Crowhurst, Dartford, Deal, Denmark Hill, Deptford, Dover Priory, Ebbsfleet International, Eden Park, Elmers End, Elmstead Woods, Eltham, Erith, Etchingham, Eynsford, Falconwood, Farningham Road, Faversham, Folkestone Central, Folkestone West, Frant, Gillingham Kent, Gravesend Upside, Greenhithe, Greenwich, Grove Park, Harrietsham, Hastings, Hayes Kent, Headcorn, Herne Bay, Herne Hill, Higham, High Brooms, Hildenborough, Hither Green, Kearsney, Kent House, Kidbrooke, Knockholt, Ladywell, Lee, Lenham, Lewisham, London Bridge, London Cannon Street, London Charing Cross, Longfield, Lower Sydenham, Maidstone East, Maidstone West, Marden, Margate, Martin Mill, Maze Hill, Meopham, Mottingham, New Beckenham, New Cross, New Eltham, Newington, Northfleet, Nunhead, Orpington Upside, Otford, Paddock Wood, Penge East, Petts Wood, Pluckley, Plumstead, Queenborough, Rainham Kent, Ramsgate, Ravensbourne, Robertsbridge, Rochester, Sandling, Sandwich, Sevenoaks, Sheerness On Sea, Shepherds Well, Shortlands, Sidcup, Sittingbourne, Slade Green, Sole Street, St Johns, St Leonards Warrior Square, St Mary Cray, Staplehurst, Stone Crossing, Stonegate, Stratford International, Strood, Sturry, Sundridge Park, Swanley, Swanscombe, Sydenham Hill, Teynham, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Wadhurst, Walmer, Welling, West Dulwich, West Malling, West St Leonards, West Wickham, Westcombe Park, Westgate On Sea, Whitstable, Woolwich Arsenal, Woolwich Dockyard, Wye

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Southern

Angmering, Arundel, Ashtead, Balcombe, Balham, Barnham, Battersea Park, Berwick Sussex, Bexhill, Billingshurst, Bognor Regis, Bosham, Brighton, Burgess Hill, Buxted, Carshalton, Carshalton Beeches, Caterham, Cheam, Chichester, Chipstead, Christs Hospital, Cooden Beach, Coulsdon South, Coulsdon Town, Crawley, Crowborough, Dorking, Dormans, Durrington On Sea, Earlswood, East Croydon, East Dulwich, East Grinstead, Eastbourne, Edenbridge Town, Emsworth, Epsom, Eridge, Ewell East, Falmer, Ford, Gatwick Airport, Gipsy Hill, Goring By Sea, Hackbridge, Ham Street, Hampden Park Sussex, Hassocks, Haywards Heath, Fri, Horley, Fri, Horsham, Hove, Fri, Hurst Green, Ifield, Kenley, Kingswood, Lancing, Leatherhead, Lewes, Fri, Lingfield, Littlehampton, Littlehaven, London Road Brighton, London Victoria, Merstham, Mitcham Eastfields, Mitcham Junction, Moulsecoomb, Newhaven Town, Norbury, North Dulwich, Oxted, Peckham Rye, Pevensey & Westham, Plumpton, Polegate, Portslade, Preston Park, Pulborough, Purley, Purley Oaks, Queens Road Peckham, Redhill, Reedham London, Reigate, Riddlesdown, Rye, Salfords, Sanderstead, Seaford, Selhurst, Shoreham By Sea, South Bermondsey, South Croydon, Southbourne, Southwick, Streatham, Streatham Common, Streatham Hill, Sutton Surrey, Tadworth, Thornton Heath, Three Bridges, Tulse Hill, Uckfield, Upper Warlingham, Waddon, Wallington, Wandsworth Common, Warblington, West Norwood, West Worthing, Whyteleafe, Whyteleafe South, Wivelsfield, Woldingham, Woodmansterne, Worthing

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"The rail industry has made no secret of its goal of closing all ticket offices, and the floodgates have now been opened for an annihilation of ticket offices across the network" said RMT general secretary Mick Lynch.

"Ticket office staff not only enhance the passenger experience, but they ensure our railways are safe, secure and accessible. Wholescale ticket office closures would be disastrous for passengers and leave our railway deserted. Disabled and elderly passengers will be particularly affected.

"This once more proves that the government’s 'levelling up' agenda is a sham and that England's rail is being downgraded driving unnecessary social tensions between Britain's nations and demonstrating a political choice has been made to downgrade England's rail users compared to Wales and Scotland."Make no mistake, RMT is ready to use all means at our disposal to fight any attacks on ticket offices, we will be launching a widespread public and political campaign to protect ticket offices and our station staff members’ jobs."

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said:

"The pandemic has been an unprecedented financial shock to the railway. While no decisions have been taken over ticket offices, with the acceleration of changing travel patterns and more passengers migrating to digital technology, many jobs will need to change to become more passenger-centric.

"Train companies want to work with unions on how to address those changes, while making sure the industry takes no more than its fair share from the taxpayer."

 A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said,

“The Government has committed £16bn of funding for passenger services since the start of the pandemic. Equivalent to nearly £600 per household. We need to take the rail industry off taxpayer life support. 

“The reality is that ticket offices have seen a significant decline in use since the 90s yet numbers have not substantially changed since then.

“Staff will always provide face-to-face services on the railways, which can be crucial for those who need additional support and cannot, or do not want to, use contactless or mobile tickets.”