All ticket offices could close to save £500m as union says plans show ‘disrespect’
Plans to close all 980 ticket offices in England and scrap paper tickets to save more than £500m are reportedly being discussed amid concerns for elderly passengers
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Rail bosses are reportedly planning to close all ticket offices in England in the near future in a bid to save more than £500m, prompting fears elderly passengers could be locked out ahead of the biggest strike action in decades.
The industry is said to be putting together controversial plans to phase out paper tickets entirely in a bid to push reforms to strengthen ailing networks.
It is feared the changes could severely affect millions of elderly, disabled and disadvantaged people wishing to use Britain’s rail network.
The daily express There are also reportedly plans to cut 2,500 jobs at Network Rail through voluntary redundancies, as well as reforms to increase weekend shifts and end restrictive labor practices.
Follow our live blog on the rail strikes here.
TSSA, the Travelers’ Union, has called for an urgent meeting with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps over the plans.
Manuel Cortes, TSSA Secretary General said: “Trust between railway workers and bosses in both industry and government has hit rock bottom.
“We’ve spent months asking for clarification on rumors of ticket office closures, but no suggestions have been shared with us or the staff who work day-to-day serving passengers.
“This government has no respect for rail staff or passengers if they think this is the way our public transport services are run. The government has greatly underestimated the reaction this will have from staff and passengers who rely on and value station staff.
“It will just lead to more members voting to strike.”
According to Charity Age UK, more than three million people over 65 have no internet access.
Age UK’s Caroline Abrahams said: “Many more [older people] Don’t have an up-to-date smartphone or tablet, or live in an area with unreliable broadband.
“These people have relied on buying tickets in person or over the phone and then collecting them from a station machine.
“What are they going to do when everything goes online?”
The plans come ahead of RMT strike action to take place tomorrow, Thursday and next Saturday and Tuesday on the London Underground.
Potential passengers have been urged not to travel on the affected days if only every fifth service operates as planned.
There could be more misery on the horizon as RMT general secretary Mick Lynch predicted the industrial action could spread to other services this summer.
The transport minister dismissed calls for negotiations, instead branding the strikes a “stunt”.
The Department for Transport said: “Strikes should always be the last resort, not the first.
“It is extremely disappointing and premature that the RMT is proceeding with industrial action.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/train-ticket-offices-could-close-27279038 All ticket offices could close to save £500m as union says plans show 'disrespect'