Rugby commuters welcome plans to keep rail ticket offices open after government U-turn

"For the elderly and disabled, tickets offices are a lifeline”
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Rugby commuters have welcomed plans to scrap the closure of train ticket offices.

Plans from rail companies to shut all train station outlets prompted uproar from unions, charities and passenger groups.

The UK government has told train operators to withdraw plans to close railways station ticket offices in England after a transport watchdog objected to plans for widespread closures.

Rugby Train Station.Rugby Train Station.
Rugby Train Station.

Commuter Nigel Jones, who lives in Rugby, said: “It’s wonderful news about ticket offices not being shut.

"For the elderly and disabled, tickets offices are a lifeline. Also lots of times the machines are out of order, plus staff are able to give advice on routes, cheapest fares etc, can’t get that from an app or machine.”

Matt Randall, who works for a charity in Rugby, said: “It was always a bad idea, especially for older people and disabled commuters.”

Louise Rubin, Head of Policy at disability equality charity Scope said it’s a victory for hundreds of thousands of disabled people who called out the absurdity of closing ticket offices.

She said: “These plans made no sense in the context of our inaccessible rail network, and would have resulted in more people being stranded without the support they need.

“We’re pleased the Government has halted these plans in their tracks, but they can't stop here. One in four of us is disabled. Government must now create long-overdue changes so that every disabled person can use our transport system with confidence."

Plans to close the railways ticket office were brought forward by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) and train operators.

Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: “Following analysis of the 750,000 responses to the consultation and in-depth discussions with train companies Transport Focus is objecting to the proposals to close ticket offices. Significant amendments and changes have been secured by the watchdog – for example, reverting to existing times when staff will be on hand at many stations. Some train companies were closer than others in meeting our criteria.”