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Following its public opposition to the proposed closure of more than 1,000 railway station ticket offices across the country, Warrington Borough Council has formally submitted its consultation response.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) announced plans for the removal 1,007 of England’s ticket offices within three years, as part of plans to ‘modernise the railway’. A three-week consultation on the plans began on Wednesday 5 July and closes today, Wednesday 26 July.
In Warrington, ticket offices earmarked for closure are those at Warrington Bank Quay, Warrington West, Birchwood and Glazebrook stations. While the ticket office at Warrington Central is one of a small number proposed to remain open, its opening hours are to be reduced from 15 to 12 hours a day from Monday to Saturday and from 12 to 8 hours a day on Sundays.
Warrington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for transport, Cllr Hans Mundry, said: “Since we first shared our views opposing the frankly disastrous ticket office proposals, we have now submitted our formal representation as part of the consultation.
“We have strongly objected to the inadequate length of the consultation period. At three weeks, the consultation window is far smaller than the standard 12-week consultation period set by the Department for Transport. It is a great shame that there has been an unwillingness to offer a significant window of opportunity for people to share their views – the three-week window flies in the face of meaningful engagement and consultation.
“We have also strongly objected to the substantial reduction in the hours of coverage of the proposed ‘Journey Maker’ staff in comparison to the hours currently provided by ticket office staff. These reductions would affect all of Warrington’s staffed stations.
“Further, we are particularly concerned that the changes will disproportionately affect vulnerable or elderly residents who may need extra assistance getting out and about on the rail network. We have suggested in our response that sufficient pre-engagement work with people who will be most affected by the changes simply has not been done.
“Finally, as we watch coverage about the extreme heatwaves and wildfires experienced in Europe over recent days, it is clear that effects of the climate emergency caused by human activity are having a hugely detrimental impact on communities. Getting more people onto public transport is one of the fundamental steps to improve air quality and decarbonise transport. This consultation does nothing to support our collective climate ambitions.
“As a council, we have strongly opposed these proposals. It is a great shame that people only have until the end of today, Wednesday, to share their views – so please don’t miss the chance to take part in the consultation. We need to end a clear message that we find the proposals being put forward wholly unacceptable.”
Notes to Editors
A link to the Avanti West Coast consultation affecting Warrington Bank Quay can be found here Consultation on the future of ticket retailing (avantiwestcoast.co.uk)
And a link to the Northern Trains consultation affecting all other stations in Warrington can be found here Changing how we support customers at our stations | Northern (northernrailway.co.uk)
And responses can be sent via Transport Focus – more details can be found here Ticket office closures - Transport Focus