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.

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

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Government responded

This response was given on 14 July 2023

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.

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