Posted 1st September 2023 | 26 Comments

Last day for responses to ticket office closures plan

 Consultation responses total tops half a million
RMT stages closures protest march in Westminster
► Train services disrupted as unions strike again

The number of responses to proposals to close more than 900 station ticket offices in England has topped half a million, as the time to react runs out.

The consultation, which was extended at the end of July, expires at midnight tonight.

The two passenger watchdogs, Transport Focus and London TravelWatch, are responsible for collating and analysing the messages they have received so that they can give formal responses in the autumn.

Rail Delivery Group chief executive Jacqueline Starr said: ‘Since the introduction of the smartphone, the numbers using ticket offices have dropped to historic lows and that trend is rapidly accelerating. For rail to survive and thrive long-term, like any responsible industry, we need to change and evolve with our customers.

‘We wanted to give as many people as possible the opportunity to have their say on the industry proposals. We are extremely grateful to everyone for taking the time to submit their views, and we will work with the passenger watchdogs to incorporate this valuable feedback into our plans.

‘The taxpayer is continuing to subsidise the railway, and we believe that now is the right time to move staff to more flexible, engaging roles so our staff can better support customers face to face with a whole range of needs, from finding the right ticket, to navigating the station and getting support with accessibility needs, while reducing costs to taxpayers.

‘We also understand that some customers have particular challenges and they should be supported in any transition.  Over the coming weeks, we will work closely with passenger watchdogs to review and adapt individual proposals where necessary.’ 

Objections to the closure proposals have been continuing. Meanwhile, no trains are running on most lines in England today as ASLEF stages a 24-hour strike. RMT members are set to walk out for 24 hours tomorrow, while ASLEF will simultaneously ban overtime. Again, train services are expected to be limited, with no service on some routes.

The RMT staged a protest march to Parliament and Downing Street yesterday, as the deadline for responses to ticket office closures was approaching.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘We are sending a clear message to the government and profiteering rail operators that our ticket offices must not be closed.

‘The campaign to save our ticket offices has amassed widespread public support and forced an extension of the consultation.

‘However, our campaign will continue beyond the consultation deadline. We need to pressure politicians in every constituency and to highlight the critical role that ticket offices and station staff play in supporting passengers of every type to reach their destinations.

‘Closing ticket offices will lead to the widespread destaffing of stations and make the railways inaccessible to thousands of disabled, vulnerable and elderly passengers.

‘We will not quietly sit back and allow this to happen. Our members will continue their industrial campaign to save their jobs and to protect railway passengers.’

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • david C smith, Bletchley

    Every entry here are agreed this proposal should be dropped , and I concur fully. Similar to the banking industry's attempts to force transactions to all be done on - line, it seems. All considered, of course the extra costs of having human advisers do exist ; Why not have a small surcharge for use of human advisors ; at least then the service is still available, whilst the providers aren't out of pocket ?
    [Oh, come now. Can't you see the headline? 'Disabled people taxed by callous railway bosses'? Not one we want to see in the popular press! -- Ed.]

  • Kathryn , Swansea

    Everyone should have the option to carry out their business face to face and have a central point to go to when they need assistance.
    We all have a responsibility to help and protect the vulnerable in our society.

  • St john Franks, Lincoln

    I do think all rail ticket offices should remain open because not everybody can buy rail tickets through there smartphones especially the elderly or disabled people or find a ticket inspector quick enough to buy tickets or the ticket machines run out of paper so cannot process any tickets.Some people are also not computer literate.So these people would prefer to buy tickets from a friendly face instead

  • David Bosher, London

    I object most strongly to the closure of station ticket offices. I much prefer to have a face to face meeting with the person I am buying my tickets from who can advise on the best fares and sell me what I actually want. I find ticket machines extremely confusing. Also last week I went to the ticket office at King's Cross to buy some advance tickets for later this month and there were people at the counter whose trains they had tickets for on that day were cancelled and had gone to the ticket office to seek advice. If this happens when ticket offices are closed, are they expected to look around for a staff member in a crowded station which might risk missing another train and add to their stress? I also do not like buying tickets online as I do not have a printer to print out tickets and sending through the post means they could easily not turn up. This proposal will effect disabled and blind people too. The closure of ticket offices MUST NOT GO AHEAD. David, Crouch End, London, N8

  • Charles A Marsden, Chelmorton Nr Buxton, Derbyshire

    There are many reasons for retaining ticket offices but a very important one is that the railways have a social role particularily for the more elderly members of the UK. The railway companies are only interested in their ability to make money and reward their share-holders. They seem to ignore the varied needs of ALL those of us who actually travel on the trains - and the travelling public are very varied and have many different needs as to why they need to use ticket offices.
    Ticket Offices must be retained and the rail companies must accept there social role as well as their financial aims.


    Re closures -ticketing is far too complex now for that to happen, with reductions for split journeys, senior railcards and reductions for advanced buying, reductions for route altering etc.
    Computers make errors and are liable to malfunction as we have seen recently in the world of aviation. It isn't just the old and those with health problems who are against this. There are many more.

  • John Hodgson, Gloucester

    Please do not close ticket offices. many of my friends who do not have the internet rely on thbe provision of both advice and tickets provided to them at the ticket office.
    They feel safe in that they have been given the right details and tickets thus avoiding any worries about wrong fares or intermediate transfers or chsnges.
    To deprive them of this facility is both wrong and unfair and discriminatory so please leave the tick offices as they are.

  • V Duffy, Birmingham

    You are dismissing the needs of all people who require help and advice, which I've always found and staff have been so helpful. They are so knowledgeable about local trains and possible connections. That's why I've used their help and advice.

  • Alan Morgan, Wellingborough

    Keep my rail ticket office open

  • mohammed al-hasani, Canterbury

    I am 77 and I feel very disadvantaged and discriminated against because of my age and ability to use the computer so please don't allow the closer of the ticket offices.

  • Michael Wedge, Christchurch

    Ticket office closures will disadvantage many people particularly the elderly and/or infirm. Closing offices would be a retrograde step.


    This proposal is very wrong as it will penalise the many people who do not use the internet or possess a smartphone. There are also many who need assistance or advice at a train station. An attempt to save money regardless of the customers' needs

  • Annette Smith, Birminhham

    All ticket offices should be kept open. Everybody should be able to speak to a human being not a machine. Whatever the circumstances you should be able to walk into a station to purchase a ticket and get all the advice you require.

  • Gary jameson, Bridgwater

    I do NOT want ticket offices to close, not everyone has a smart phone or reliable internet connections

  • Stephen Harris, Broxbourne

    Our nearest station is Broxbourne, Herts and we feel happier to be served by someone when buying a ticket rather than using an automated machine and risk making a mistake. We have always found the ticket office staff very helpful
    when discussing time tables and the correct services.

  • Robert Kennedy, ST. LEONARDS-ON-SEA

    I don't use the train very often but on the occasions I do the ticket office staff at Battle station are brilliant. They tell me the best way to get where I'm going and provide me with the cheapest ticket. they also solve my parking problems.
    I think that without them I will drive to wherever I'm going or if I'm going to London drive to the nearest tube station.

  • Leonard Thomas, Greater Manchester

    I am dyslexic, and if you close the ticket offices It is not only going to be difficult for me to plan a trip, but near impossible to try and work out one on a machine.
    I beg you to reconsider closing these ticket offices.

  • Ann Garrett , Guildford

    Ticket offices are needed at stations like Clandon which has proved a wonderful personal service for the 37years I have been travelling from this station. This will be sadly missed.
    The sort of advice described by Rail Delivery Group chief executive Jacqueline Starr is already provided at Clandon Ticket office. I doubt that this will happen at this station if it is closed and will leave us with a ticket machine which cannot possibly replace this excellent service.


    We do not own a smart phone and are not proficient in the use of a computer. We feel people like us and vulnerable people eg the blind and handicapped are being discriminated against and should not be stopped for using trains because we are unable to purchase a ticket in a ticket office. Wake up and see the damage being done if ticket offices are closed.

  • John Witherden, Billingshurst

    I respectfully suggest that ticket offices should be kept open - Technology is becoming more and more complicated and we need a return to human beings to be able to access the fares and services without fear and technical indifference.
    John Witherden, West Sussex


    We need booking offices on our stations, there must be a focal and essential point for all advice and assistance.

    I'm 71 and rely exclusively on this traditional;l and current system.

    The safety of the travelling public should be paramount and stations must be manned.

    And where there a reduced staff levels, then the booking office must be a focal point for all assistance.

    Do not close our British Rail ticket offices!!!

  • Julie Baxter, Leamington Spa

    Since COVID I have had to use the ticket office as the National Rail website doesn't work and the new website is complicated and I am use to computers, so a person who is not computer literate would find it impossible. And machines do have a bad habit of breaking down. As a person of limited eye sight I find using machines really difficult and hard to read. If someone has learning difficulties it would be a nightmare. We need ticket offices - often it is easier to talk to someone.

  • Susan Cleworth, Altrincham

    Closures will cause problems for the elderly,partial sighted and people who cannot cope with technology..very bad move for all

  • Doug Hughes, Sunderland

    I think the proposed closure of ticket offices is morally wrong and completely ignores the problems facing vulnerable people and those with extra needs. Even as a competent, able-bodied person, when I need assistance with purchasing a ticket, I do not want to have to hunt around for a member of staff to help me - I want the assurance of being able to visit a ticket office in a fixed location where I can speak with knowledgeable staff who are there for the specific purpose of selling tickets and giving advice.

  • Mr Anthony Frampton, Ilminster

    We need booking offices on our stations, there must be a focal point for all / any assistance.
    Im 75 and feel that a mobile Phone is a phone
    The saftey of the traveling public should be paramount and stations must be manned and where reduced staff levels then the boking office is a focal point for all assistance

  • win , York

    I am disabled and have to use ticket offices if they close I will be forced onto buses and not have anywhere as much freedom as I have at the moment. I personaly think that we that is disabled people are being discriminated against