The Transport Committee has written to the Rail Minister, Huw Merriman, with concerns about the proposed closures of rail ticket offices and its impact on disabled travellers and travellers with access needs.
The letter voices the Committee’s concerns that these proposals in consultation go too far and too fast, and risk excluding some passengers from the railway altogether. At a minimum, the letter argues, any proposed changes should be carefully piloted to properly understand their impact before being rolled out network wide.
Evidence from operators suggested that the overall rationale for these changes is based on the behaviour of the majority of passengers. The letter recognises that it is reasonable to an extent that operators should adapt to changes in how passengers interact with ticket retail but argues that this is not a sufficient approach to safeguarding the needs of disabled passengers.
There are many legitimate concerns about whether ticket office closures would reduce the assistance these passengers need to travel freely and reliably on the railway like anyone else. The letter calls for clarity regarding the practicality of alternative staffing and retail arrangements for people with different kinds of disabilities.
The letter follows an evidence session held in September on the proposed closures as part of a wider inquiry into the legal obligations of Accessible Transport.
The full letter can be viewed here.
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