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Closed petition Require train operators keep ticket offices and platform staff at train stations

We want the Government to require train operators keep ticket offices and platform staff at train stations, to help maintain health and safety standards and customer information.

More details

Train companies provide an important public service, and some are subsidised by the Government, and should be required to maintain standards.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

106,156 signatures

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100,000

The Petitions Committee decided not to debate this petition

The Petitions Committee has decided not to schedule a debate on this petition, because the Government has asked operators to withdraw their proposals to close ticket offices.

In response to a recent public petition about the closure of a local railway ticket office, the Government said that it had been clear that any proposals to close ticket offices must deliver the highest quality of service for all users of the railway.

The Government said that the proposals that have resulted from the consultation process run by train operators do not meet the high thresholds set by Ministers, and so the Government has asked train operating companies to withdraw their proposals and for no ticket offices to close.

You can read the Government's full response to the public petition here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2023-11-13/debates/23111325000031/StowmarketRailwayStationTicketOffice#contribution-BECE6F3F-F0E2-4015-83BD-561B6C175961

Government responded

This response was given on 11 October 2023

The rail industry has consulted on plans to modernise to provide the service passengers deserve, moving staff from behind ticket office screens to provide help and advice in customer-focused roles.

Read the response in full

Together with the rail industry, we want to improve and modernise the experience for passengers by moving staff out from behind the ticket office screens to provide more help and advice in customer-focused roles in the station. No currently staffed station will become unstaffed as a result of this reform, with staff still being there to provide assistance and additional support at stations for those who need and want it. This would include providing assistance in purchasing tickets and providing customer information. When consulting, train operators were required to follow the rules set out in the rail industry’s Ticketing and Settlement Agreement (TSA), and the Government has no role unless objections are referred to the Secretary of State for a decision. We do not therefore plan to require train operators to keep ticket offices and platform staff at train stations.

There has been a significant shift in the way passengers purchase tickets, with just one in every ten transactions taking place at a ticket office in 2022/23, down from one in three a decade earlier. This is equivalent to 13% of revenue in 2022/23. Train operators have therefore consulted on proposals to close ticket offices and move staff out onto stations where they can provide support to passenger where this is needed.

The public consultations on proposed ticket office changes have now closed. The independent passenger bodies, Transport Focus and London TravelWatch, are engaging with train operators on the basis of the consultation responses they have received and the criteria they have set out on how they will consider their responses. Train operators are expected to work collaboratively with passenger bodies in the coming weeks to listen to the concerns raised and to refine their proposals accordingly.

Should ticket offices close following this process, staff would be redeployed and multi-skilled in order to provide advice and assistance across stations. Exact arrangements will vary operator by operator and will be the subject of collective bargaining with the trade unions. 

Department for Transport

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/636542

Petitions Committee requests a revised response from the Government

The Petitions Committee (the group of MPs who oversee the petitions system) have considered the Government’s response to this petition. They felt that the response did not directly address the request of petition and have therefore written back to the Government to ask them to provide a revised response.

When the Committee have received a revised response from the Government, this will be published on the website and you will receive an email. If you would not like to receive further updates about this petition, you can unsubscribe below.

Railway ticket office closures examined by MPs

On Wednesday 13 September, there were two items of Parliamentary business on railway ticket office closures in the House of Commons:

  • A Westminster Hall debate led by Chris Loder MP

  • An evidence session held by the Transport Select Committee.

Watch each one, read the transcripts, and access relevant Parliamentary research:

Railway Ticket Offices

What are Westminster Hall debates? 

Westminster Hall is the second Chamber of the House of Commons.  

Westminster Hall debates give MPs an opportunity to raise local or national issues and receive a response from a government minister. Any MP can take part in a Westminster Hall debate. 

Debates in Westminster Hall take place on ‘general debate' motions expressed in neutral terms. These motions are worded ‘That this House has considered [a specific matter]'. This means that Westminster Hall debates don’t end in a vote on a particular action or decision.

What is an evidence session?

An evidence session is when a group of MPs - called a committee - invite experts and people with experience of a certain issue to answer questions about it. This helps the committee understand more about the issue.

Original Government response

The rail industry must modernise to provide the service passengers deserve, moving staff from behind the ticket office screens. Train operators are consulting passengers on the proposed changes.

There has been a significant shift in the way passengers purchase tickets, with just one in every ten transactions taking place at a ticket office in 2022/23, down from one in three a decade earlier. 99% of all transactions made at ticket offices last year could be made at TVMs or online.

Together with the rail industry, we want to improve and modernise the experience for passengers by moving staff out from behind the ticket office screens to provide more help and advice in customer-focused roles. We have been clear that no currently staffed station will become unstaffed as a result of this reform.

These reforms will bring our stations in tune with what customers expect from other, modern and responsive services, including supermarkets and banks, where customer assistants help with information, support and making digital transactions on the shop floor. To propose any changes to the opening hours of a station ticket office, or to propose its closure, train operating companies must follow the longstanding process set out in the Ticketing and Settlement Agreement (TSA).

Train operators must consult on any proposed changes, advertising them at the relevant stations and inviting members of the public who wish to comment on the proposal to write to the relevant passenger body (Transport Focus or London TravelWatch) within a 21-day public consultation period.

Under the Ticketing and Settlement Agreement, when proposing major changes to ticket office opening hours (including closures) operators are required to take into account the adequacy of the proposed alternatives in relation to the needs of passengers who are disabled, and to include this in the notice of the proposal sent to other operators and passenger groups. We would also expect operators to consider other equality-related needs, and to make this clear in their consultation.

Department for Transport

This response was given on 14 July 2023. The Petitions Committee then requested a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.

MPs raise concerns about proposed rail ticket office closures

MPs on the Transport Committee have written to the Rail Minister, Huw Merriman MP, with concerns about the proposed closures of rail ticket offices and the impact this could have on disabled travellers and travellers with access needs.

The letter was written as part of the Committee's ongoing inquiry into accessible transport, and follows an evidence session the Committee held on Wednesday 13 September, focusing on proposals to close ticket offices across the rail network.

The Committee's inquiry on accessible transport is looking at legal obligations to ensure accessibility apply to transport operators and local licensing authorities across different modes of transport, and whether these are being met.

What is the Transport Committee?

The Transport Committee is a cross-party group of MPs that look into the work of the Department for Transport.

Find out more about the committee and its work: Transport Committee.

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