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Date posted: 19th July 2023
Rail Minister Huw Merriman MP and the UK’s Rail Delivery Group (RDG) faced criticism in a meeting this week over the proposed closure of nearly 1,000 rail ticket offices.
Representatives from around 35 organisations, including disability advocacy groups and passenger bodies, expressed concern about the consultation process and the potential impact on disabled users.
Organisations, including Thomas Pocklington Trust, highlighted the complexity of the consultation process on the closures and its abbreviated timeline. They also emphasised the disproportionate impact of the closure plan on the ability of people with disabilities to use rail services.
Mike Bell, Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns at Thomas Pocklington Trust, who attended the meeting, said: “Without substantial and swift progress in delivering a National Rail Accessibility Strategy, it is hard to see how ticket office closures can be justified. The experience of visually impaired rail users in using online services and apps for purchasing tickets are still variable. Ticket vending machines at stations are largely inaccessible for blind and partially sighted users.
“We believe that the consultation and closure plans need to be halted so that more progress can be made in removing barriers and improving accessibility. Pressing on with a flawed consultation and one-size-fits-all plan will lead to more people being turned away from rail travel.”
You can take part in the national consultation on ticket office closures here.