My Views

August 31st, 2023
Written by John Grogan


As the consultation on the plan to close station ticket offices comes to an end today Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Keighley and Ilkley John Grogan has said that only the Government can save Keighley and Ilkley Station ticket offices from closure and that the decision is not in the hands of the rail operator Northern. He has drawn attention to a letter sent to a concerned constituent in October 2022 by local Conservative MP Robbie Moore.

John Grogan commented:

‘Back in October 2022 Mr Moore replied  to a concerned constituent who had written to him about potential closures of local railway ticket offices. In his reply Mr Moore clearly acknowledged that the Government had a plan to close ticket offices and he used the same arguments back then that are being used now to justify the closures which were announced subject to consultation in July 2023. His letter clearly states.

‘I understand the Government intends to move staff from behind the ticket office screens to more visible and accessible roles around stations in order to better support customers. Train operating companies have set out early proposals for station retail reform. I know ministerial colleagues are keen to see customer-facing staff on railways and stations may need to change what they do or how they do it to deliver on this aim.

‘Keighley and Ilkley’s current MP let the cat out of the bag ten months ago about the Government’s plans to close railway ticket offices. It is a shame there was not a rebellion on the Government back benches then. Clearly the Government is in the driving seat in this closure programme, not the train operating companies some of which like Northern are now publicly owned in any case. The reality is that if the ticket offices are closed and staff redeployed onto station platforms and concourses the train companies could make them redundant at any time to save costs without any further public consultation.

'In the last few months I have had more emails about the proposed closure of Keighley and Ilkley Ticket offices than I have had about any other subject since the General Election. It seems there have been around 500,000 responses to the consultation nationally. I think Ministers are beginning to wobble.’

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