TfW: No plans to make ‘wholesale changes’ to ticket offices in Wales
The Rail Delivery Group has unveiled proposals that would see over 1,000 railway ticket offices close, including some of Britain’s busiest stations.
UK train companies are initiating public consultations to transition ticket office staff into on-the-ground, multi-skilled roles that focus on customer service. However, rail bosses have said that any changes will not apply in Wales.
The proposed changes aim to modernise the sector, reflecting the ‘generational shift’ in ticket purchasing behaviours and improving passenger experiences across the network.
Currently, only 12% of tickets are sold at ticket offices, compared to 82% in the mid-90s. This shift in customer behaviour accelerated during the pandemic, leading to a rethink in the ticketing approach, mirroring changes made by Transport for London, airlines, and supermarkets.
Jacqueline Starr, Rail Delivery Group chief executive, highlighted the changes: “The ways our customers buy tickets have changed and it’s time for the railway to change with them.” The reform would result in more staff on hand to provide journey planning, ticketing advice, and accessibility assistance.
The changes, which are being proposed against the backdrop of union disputes over railway updates, aim to gradually phase in the staff transition to ‘customer help’ roles. Train companies are committed to ensuring a smooth process and offer comprehensive re-training and re-skilling for affected staff.
As part of the reform, train companies are also making key pledges to passengers, guaranteeing more face-to-face help, convenience in ticket purchasing, support for those with accessibility needs, and fair treatment of all rail staff.
The consultation will be facilitated by independent watchdogs Transport Focus and London TravelWatch, who encourage passengers to participate.
In a statement, the Welsh Government and Transport for Wales (TfW) said it was “not in scope of the ticket office announcement made by the Department for Transport train operators in England”.
“We do not have any plans to reduce the number of staff at our stations and we will continue to work in a social partnership with our Trade Unions as part of regular dialogue on how we deliver the best possible service to meet the needs of our customers.”
“TfW does not plan to make similar wholesale changes to ticket offices in Wales or to the ticket offices that we manage in England (Chester, Hereford, Leominster, Runcorn East, or Shrewsbury) or to the ticket offices operated by our retail agents,” said Marie Daly, Chief Culture and Customer Officer at TfW.
Mick Lynch, RMT General Secretary, condemned train operators and the government, accusing them of devastating the railways with plans to close ticket offices and issue hundreds of redundancies. “This attack on railway workers and the public forces travellers to depend on apps instead of trained station staff. It’s disastrous for vulnerable passengers,” Lynch stated. He suggests these closures are a cost-cutting exercise at the expense of passenger safety and a well-functioning railway.
Lynch affirms that RMT will intensify its campaign against these measures, with railway workers planning strikes on July 20, 22 and 29. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com