He suggested mass closure of ticket offices at train stations was “the right thing to do for the British public”, Rishi Sunak said.
The Prime Minister was asked during his trip to India about train operators’ plans to close almost all ticket offices at train stations in England as the government pressured them to cut costs.
He said: “It is right that our rail network is modernized and placed on a sustainable basis.”
From what I understand, it’s essentially about moving people from the ticket counters to platforms and stations where they can help people in different ways
“This is the right thing to do for the British public and British taxpayers and takes into account the fact that I believe only one in ten tickets are currently being sold at the box office.
“But this is essentially, as I understand it, about getting people from the ticket booths to platforms and stations where they can help people in different ways, and that’s where the help is needed.”
“These are exactly the things we will be discussing in the consultation and it would not be right for me to prejudge the response or conclusions.”
The plan sparked strong criticism from opposition politicians, unions, disability groups and public transport organizations.
The consultation, which closed on September 1, received more than 680,000 responses.
According to regulators Transport Focus and London TravelWatch, the public and “stakeholders” raised concerns about the impact on accessibility, safety, problems with ticket machines and the future staffing of stations.
The organizations will analyze the proposals and consultation responses before responding to rail operators by the end of October.
If regulators object to plans to close certain station offices, the relevant operator can forward their proposals to Transport Minister Mark Harper for a final decision.
An online petition calling for ticket offices to be opened received 100,000 signatures on Friday, allowing the issue to be considered for debate in Parliament.
https://www.standard.co.uk/business/business-news/pm-says-closing-railway-ticket-offices-is-right-thing-for-british-public-b1106087.html Prime Minister says closing rail ticket offices is ‘the right thing to do for the British public’