Harlow Save Our Ticket Offices asks local political leaders to share their stance on ticket office closures
Lifestyle / Mon 21st Aug 2023 at 07:55am
SINCE the news broke that Greater Anglia, with all other rail companies, proposed to close our railway ticket offices, a group of people based in and around Harlow have come together, under the name of Harlow SOTO (Save Our Ticket Offices). We want to keep Harlow Ticket Office (and the others) open. And so do many other Harlow residents.
Since Harlow SOTO was formed, we have actively been trying to ensure that Harlow residents, in all areas of the town, know about proposals and know how they can respond to them – either through the online consultation or via petitions that will be sent to Transport Focus.
Regular petition sessions have taken place outside Harlow Town station. These are alongside two town centre street campaign stalls where we have collected over 1,000 signatures in under a week, to add to the 1,000 already submitted.
During the street stall on the 16th, we asked people why keeping the Harlow railway ticket office open was important to them. People of all ages cited multiple reasons, including:
“I am in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. I know how much I need the ticket office to be open.”
“I believe it is incredibly important to now not only keep Harlow’s ticket office open, but offices across the Country too. These offices provide vital information and aid to those new to the area and those who cannot use the technology provided in stations. Technology also puts people’s jobs on the line, which seems absolutely barbaric in the current economic climate.” A Clark
“I believe it is very important to keep the ticket offices open as even the younger generation needs them. I have dyslexia and ADHD and I have trouble reading the machines. It’s not just the older generation who need the ticket offices.”
“Don’t close our ticket office as it would very difficult for me to travel with the trains. Ticket officer helps us to pay the correct price for our journey as well as advice as to where the change to get to our destination.” P Antoniou
We know what Harlow residents think, but about our local political leaders? Are local politicians taking notice of the local and national outcry against the possible closures? Where do they stand on this issue? As the proposed closures will impact on all Harlow residents and visitors to the town, we invite them to use this platform to air their views.
The consultation runs until August 25th. Please could all political leaders respond to this open letter with their stance by Friday 25th September. Harlow people deserve to know.
Take part in the consultation
Email [email protected] Freepost: RTEH-XAGE-BYKZ London TravelWatch PO Box 5594 Southend on Sea SS1 9PZ
Or you can add your name to a pre-written letter here: https://act.newmode.net/action/trades-union-congress/save-your-greater-anglia-ticket-offices?fbclid=IwAR3hOvhTSJU-aJSxUSGAMQTs4Jg-fjXRbIEpk1afIwo_TJeT_GCCk3BySj4
For G A Rail to suggest that the same support that Ticket Office Staff provided can be given by Platform staff surrounded by passengers and trains is totally unrealistic. Its just another cost cutting exercise.
There innumerable reasons why ticket office closures are a terrible idea. Vulnerable and less able people will be badly impacted by these proposals but it’s not limited to just these groups. A ticket machine will not come to your aid if you’re confused by the complex ticketing system. A ticket machine will not help you if you are visually impaired. A ticket machine will not offer assistance with finding the right platform. A ticket machine will not help less able passengers board a train. A ticket machine will not offer advice on routes. Many people just cannot use the ticket machines, their opportunities for independent travel will be severely curtailed if ticket offices close. Contrary to the claims of the Government and Rail companies, there are frequently queues to use the ticket office, many passengers find it comforting and more helpful to speak to a human who can understand their needs. And what if foreign travellers who are unfamiliar with our rail system? Many of them will find invaluable assistance from a ticket office that they simply will not get from a machine. The proposed closures will be disastrous for safety, service and the confidence of the travelling public. Surely, in the face of the climate catastrophe that’s on our doorstep, we should be encouraging rail use not making it harder for the very people who rely upon it most. Have your say and show Govt and rail operators that their plans are just not welcome.
No comment from our MP or any councillor bar James. Well said, by the way James
For once I agree with you ,James Leppard.
The ticket office spends more time closed than open, and other times you see 3 or 4 people in there, but just one attending customers. They are just fighting to keep their laziness. People Already prefer to use the machines than queue and many times get the wrong ticket...
Sorry , I agree with James griggs,,, got name wrong.......thought its unusual for me to agree with James 😂