Rail company ticket office closure concern letter

Dear Sir

The recent announcement by our rail company that they plan to close ticket offices at the stations such as WGC and Hatfield is worrying.

It is of course welcome that they hope to have staff available all the time the station is open, but the lengthy queues at our booking offices show that they provide a vital service which machines do not always do.

There are a host of tickets you can currently only buy at a booking office, such as:

  • tickets for after tomorrow
  • tickets for journeys from other than the purchasing station
  • add-on tickets
  • advance purchase tickets and reservations
  • and others such as the little-known 50% off local journeys if you have a Herts or Beds bus pass

And of course the booking office clerk can answer all sorts of queries such as train times, and ensuring you buy the cheapest ticket for your journey. With the complexity around rail fares, that is not always easy.

Having asked the rail company if all these tickets will still be available with no booking office, and if so, how, I have to say the answers I received suggest there is a lot of work to be done before they can answer 'yes'.

Indeed just today, I was at WGC station and 2 of the 4 ticket machines were out of use with long queues for the remaining ones and at the booking office. So relying on overused public machines may not be the answer.

I am told all the closure proposals will go to public consultation; I suggest all rail users need to be aware of this and ensure they ask all the questions they may have to ensure they do not suffer a drop in service and potentially paying higher fares than they need to..

Yours sincerely

Malcolm Cowan

County and borough councillor

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