In response to the recent plans to close railway ticket offices across England, Councillor Ben Miskell who leads on Transport in Sheffield has expressed deep anger and frustration.
Plans which have been set out by government and rail operators would see the vast majority of England’s 1,007 ticket offices close over a three-year period, and have been opposed by trade unions and passenger groups alike.
Under the current plans only ticket offices at larger stations, like Sheffield will remain open on reduced operating hours, which would see other ticket offices, including Meadowhall’s, close entirely.
The decision to close Meadowhall ticket office entirely and reduce hours at Sheffield station has ignited concerns about the detrimental impact on passengers, particularly older people, disabled commuters, and those in need of assistance.
Labour and Co-operative Councillor Ben Miskell said:
“I am absolutely fuming about the planned closures to station ticket offices. The government should be encouraging more passengers onto our railways, not cutting them off. It is deeply disheartening to witness the continuous erosion of essential transport services and the managed decline of our railway network.’.
He went on to say: “Closing most ticket offices and reducing hours in those lucky enough to stay open will directly impact the most vulnerable members of our society. These closures will make it increasingly challenging for older people, disabled passengers, and those who require assistance to access and navigate our railway system.”
Louise Haigh, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, said:
“These reports of mass ticket office closures are causing deep concern for passengers and rail staff. Nearly 120million journeys will be affected across the country and it will hit the elderly and disabled passengers the hardest.
“I’ve urgently written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper and raised my deep concern about these plans and how they are being railroaded through in just 21 days.
“There are many unanswered questions surrounding these closures and passengers and staff will be demanding answers. The government must, urgently provide answers to the most basic questions on accessibility of services or job security.
“Once again the government are showing contempt for passengers.”
The TSSA Union which represents many of the workers threatened with redundancy have slammed the news as a Government plans for redundancies by the back door.
“Ticket office staff are hugely valued by the travelling public”
“We will continue to oppose ticket office closures which make no sense when it comes to running a railway for all”
Councillor Ben Miskell has pledged to challenge government plans and he is calling on fellow councillors, MPs, trade unions and passenger groups to work together to make the government reconsider their decision.