22 April 2024

Changes to ticket offices could see Salisbury Train Station without a ticket office

South Western Railway (SWR) is launching a consultation on a station change proposal, with new arrangements at 153 of SWR’s 190 stations to be consulted on.

These changes are likely to happen at stations which are local to us, including Salisbury, Tisbury, and Romsey.

The proposed changes include creating a single team of colleagues at each station, who will work together to help customers with different aspects of their train travel, from journey planning to ticket purchasing.

The proposals would deliver a large-scale change in the operation of stations across the network, and SWR is committed to working with customers, stakeholders and colleagues to ensure a smooth transition.

Claire Mann, Managing Director of South Western Railway, said: “In developing our proposal to modernise and update our stations, we’ve focused on delivering improvements for our customers while also recognising that our people are the key to doing so.

“Our station colleagues play a vital role in delivering a positive customer experience. This proposal recognises their talent and dedication by opening up opportunities for career progression and comprehensive re-skilling.

“By multi-skilling our colleagues, we can offer a customer service that aligns with what customers actually want and need, in line with their expectations from modern retailing.

“Technology has already enabled significant change at our stations, with 75 per cent of passenger journeys made using smart media today. Our proposal simply seeks to build on these existing trends.

“We are consulting widely on our proposals and welcome feedback to help ensure a smooth transition to a more modern customer focussed experience at our stations.”

The RMT Union, which represents most of the station staff at SWR, oppose the idea of closing ticket offices.

Their General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “The decision to close up to 1,000 ticket offices and to issue hundreds of redundancy notices to staff is a savage attack on railway workers, their families and the travelling public.

“Travellers will be forced to rely on apps and remote mobile teams to be available to assist them rather than having trained staff on stations.

“This is catastrophic for elderly, disabled and vulnerable passengers trying to access the rail network.

“The arrangements for ticket office opening hours, set out in Schedule 17 of the Ticketing and Settlement Agreement, are the only statutory regulation of station staffing.

“It is crystal clear that the government and train companies want to tear up this agreement and pave the way for a massive de-staffing of the rail network.

“Some of the train operators issuing our members with statutory redundancy notices today are cutting two thirds of their workforce.

“It is clear that the whole enterprise of closing ticket offices has got nothing to do with modernisation and is a thinly veiled plan to gut our railways of station staff.

“Fat cat rail operators and the government do not care one jot about passenger safety, or a well-staffed and friendly railway open to all to use.

“They want to cut costs, make profits for shareholders, and run the network into the ground without a thought as to the vital role the rail industry plays in the country’s economy.  

“RMT is mounting a strong industrial, and political campaign to resist ticket office closures and station staff cuts. And we will continue our fight on July 20, 22 and 29 when 20,000 railway workers on the train operators go on strike.”

Feature Image: Google Street View

Written by
Andy Munns
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Written by Andy Munns