More than 1000 ticket offices at risk of closure could turn railways into ‘’mugger’s paradise’, RMT warns

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Changes to government guidelines could lead to the “wiping out of ticket offices” and put passengers at risk, the union has warned

Unions have warned railroads could become a “robber’s paradise” if ticket offices across the country close following a change in government rules.

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Union RMT says the change will effectively downgrade England’s rail network compared to Wales and Scotland and that changes will particularly affect the elderly and disabled.

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Why is the ticket office threatened to be closed?

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The government has changed its guidance to rail operators on ticket office opening hours.

According to RMT, this change could result in the closure of more than 1,000 ticket offices across the country, resulting in job losses and poorer service for users.

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The union, which represents workers across the rail network, has warned that removing ticket offices will make the railways less safe and less accessible.

A spokesman for the Department of Transportation told Mazic News that the number of ticket offices has remained about the same since the 1990s, while the number of tickets purchased at them has fallen from one in three a decade ago to one in eight today.

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RMT Secretary General Mick Lynch said: “The rail industry has made no secret of its aim of closing all ticket offices and now the floodgates have been opened for a ticket office blast across the network.

“The ticket office staff not only improves the passenger experience, but also ensures that our trains are safe and accessible. Comprehensive checkout closures would be devastating for passengers and would leave our train.

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“Make no mistake, RMT is ready to use any means at our disposal to combat ticket office attacks. We will launch a full public and political campaign to protect ticket offices and the jobs of our station employees.”

Upgrade agenda as “sham”

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Analysis by the RMT indicates that more than 1000 ticket offices from 15 different operators are at risk.

Operators designated by RMT include Northern, Great Northern and Thameslink, Great Western Railway and Southeastern.

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Mr Lynch said the plans were evidence that the government’s “leveling” agenda was a “sham”.

He added: “England’s railways are being downgraded, creating unnecessary social tensions between British nations and demonstrating that a political decision has been made to downgrade England’s railway users compared to Wales and Scotland.”

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A DfT spokesman said: “The Government has committed £16bn in funding to passenger transport since the pandemic began. That equates to nearly £600 per household. We must free the railway industry from taxpayers’ livelihoods.

“The reality is that ticket office usage has decreased significantly since the 1990s, but the numbers have not changed much since then.

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“Staff will always provide personal services on the railways, which can be crucial for those who need extra assistance and are unable or unwilling to use contactless or mobile tickets.”

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