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Warrington Borough Council is urging people to have their say on the proposed closure of more than 1,000 railway station ticket offices, following the extension of the consultation on the plans.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) launched a three-week consultation on 5 July on plans for the removal of 1,007 ticket offices across England within three years - combined with huge reductions in the hours of coverage of staff - as part of plans to ‘modernise the railway’.
The consultation was originally due to end on 26 July, but following widespread objections to the short consultation period, RDG has extended the consultation until Friday 1 September.
Warrington Borough Council has already submitted its formal consultation response which sets out its strong opposition to the plans, highlighting the damaging impact it would have on passengers, in particular many vulnerable and elderly residents who would lose the assistance they rely on to travel independently.
The council is now urging local people who oppose the plans but have not yet had their say, to use the extended consultation period to do so.
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: “We are strongly opposed to the proposed closure of our ticket offices, and this is a position which we - and many, many others across the country - have made very clear since these plans were announced.
“We are extremely concerned about the detrimental affect these closures would have, in particular, on vulnerable people who may need extra assistance on the rail network. In addition, the lack of pre-engagement work carried out with these groups, to actually listen to their views and assess their needs, is completely unacceptable.
“While we’re pleased that the operators saw sense by extending the ridiculously brief consultation period and giving people more opportunity to provide feedback, the consultation window should never have been so short in the first place.
“These plans fly in the face of our shared ambitions to combat the climate emergency and improve air quality by making public transport more accessible for everyone. We will continue to oppose these plans and we would urge everyone who shares these views to make sure they have their say before 1 September.”
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)
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)
Responses can be sent via Transport Focus – more details can be found here Ticket office closures - Transport Focus