Many constituents are contacting me with their concerns about plans to modernise customer service across the railway network. I understand that proposals will see staff move from behind the ticket office screens to more visible and accessible roles around stations in order to better support customers.
I know ministerial colleagues are keen to see multiskilled, customer-facing staff on railways and stations may need to change what they do or how they do it to ensure that passengers get the required service. Staff will be able to provide a more personal service in future, which can be crucial for those who need additional support at stations and those who cannot or do not want to use contactless or mobile tickets.
It is important to note that ticket offices have seen a significant decline in use over the last decade. In 2022/23, around 1 in 10 transactions occurred at a ticket office, this is down from 1 in 3 a decade earlier and equates to 13 per cent of total revenue, yet the number of ticket offices has not substantially changed.
An estimated 99 per cent of all transactions made at ticket offices last year can be made at Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) or online and where needed. I understand that TVMs across the network will be improved and upgraded.
The process for train operators to propose any changes to the opening hours of ticket offices or close ticket offices is set out in the Ticketing and Settlement Agreement. The agreement regulates what train operators do in terms of fares ticketing and retailing across the network and requires train operators to put notices at the station advising passengers of any proposals and what any changes could mean for them.
To take part in the public consultation exercise click on the following link Train station ticket office consultation - Transport Focus Consultation Closes 01 September 2023.