The leader of Stafford Borough Council is calling for the ticket office at Stafford Railway Station to remain open.
Councillor Aidan Godfrey has written to the Government and Avanti West Coast to object to proposals to get rid of the office at Stafford station.
Train operators announced hundreds of ticket offices could be closed within the next few years and have been running a consultation on the plans which is due to end today (Friday 1 September).
Councillor Godfrey is urging residents and businesses across the borough to make their voices heard to the train operators, as part of the consultation, before the deadline.
Avanti West Coast run the Stafford station and people can find out how to take part in the consultation from their website Consultation on the future of ticket retailing (avantiwestcoast.co.uk)
It is estimated the nationally 12 percent of train users purchase their tickets from offices within stations - which Councillor Godfrey said could amount to around 100,000 people a year at Stafford. And the proposals come at a time when the borough council has just appointed a contractor to carry out improvements to the entrance and approach to the Stafford station which they say will improve accessibility for many customers.
Among a series of points to why the ticket office must stay in Stafford, the council leader has told the train operator and Secretary of State for Transport that:
- Closure would decrease accessibility for disabled passengers who rely on dedicated assistance with tickets and enquiries
- Stafford’s population growth will see a higher than average number of older people in the town - who are more likely to use a ticket office
- Avanti’s reasons for the closure are flawed - when ticket offices at other quieter stations will remain open
- It could lead to risks with more passengers crowding train-side platforms wanting advice from staff rather than having conversations in a ticket office
Cllr Godfrey continued: “We strongly object to these proposals and we have set out a number of reasons to support the retention of the ticket office at Stafford.
“Avanti need to consider the ticket offices as part of an important public service - for all sections of the public - and not viewed purely as an income generator. And we want the Secretary of State for Transport to recognise this in their discussions with train operators.”
He added: “We are a growing borough and attracting significant investment into the area especially in the county town with ambitious plans around the railway station that will see more people living here, more businesses, and more visitors.
“And we will shortly begin work on the entrance and approach to the railway station - making it more attractive, accessible and prioritising disabled parking to support increased and inclusive rail travel - which makes the Avanti decision all the more irrational.”
The proposed closure will also be discussed by the council at their meeting later this month (September).
Press Release No 6064