Harlow MP Robert Halfon demands protections for vulnerable railway passengers
News / Thu 31st Aug 2023 at 09:09am
FOLLOWING extensive canvassing across Harlow and the villages, local Member of Parliament, Robert Halfon, is demanding for more protections for vulnerable railway passengers in response to proposals to close station ticket offices and redeploy staff.
Train companies, including Greater Anglia, are consulting on proposals that will see staff move from behind the ticket office screens to more visible and accessible roles around stations in order to better support customers. Whilst these rail bosses claim that these plans will see staff able to provide a more personal service for those who need additional support, Robert has expressed his concerns for those passengers who may be disadvantaged by these proposals.
Commenting on the proposals, Mr Halfon said, “Over recent weeks, I have spoken to numerous constituents, received hundreds of emails and letters and visited a range of local stakeholder groups, all of whom have expressed their most sincere concerns about proposals to close railway station ticket offices.
“I share the concerns that any changes to staff deployment will lead to passengers being unable to find staff when they need assistance and to a reduction in the number of staff available at stations. It is wrong that any vulnerable person should have a real fear that these proposals will be detrimental to them and make their journeys more difficult, more dangerous and less enjoyable.
“For those passengers that are not confident in using technology and will be unable to purchase tickets without seeing a member of staff in a ticket office, or those who need extra assistance getting to platforms and boarding trains, these plans threaten their independence.
“That’s why I have written to the Railway Minister to urge him to consider my concerns and those of people from across Harlow and the villages before it is too late.”
Local residents can take part in the main consultation before Friday 1st September online at https://www.raildeliverygroup.com/uk-rail-industry/customer-focused-reform/customer-focused-stations, or share their views directly with Robert who will provide a response on behalf on local people via https://www.roberthalfon.com/form/robert-halfon-mp-railway-ticket-.
Bob Halfon's has missed his train on this one. Chris Vince and his team have been at the forefront of leading the local campaign to #SaveOurRailwayTicketOffices. I wonder if Bob knows the Train Minsiter is ready to backtrack and wants as usual to be ready to claim victory for - um, doing nothing!
Thought bob was all for so called modernisation of the railways, more profit for foreign train operators, bigger dividends for shareholders, higher fares ,lower pay rises for railworkers,
Robert, can you publish your letter to the Transport Minister so the people of Harlow can see exactly what it is you are saying and judge for themselves whether your position has actually changed at all from that made in your statement of the 11th July namely “The way people travel has changed and, with contactless payments, online tickets and ticket vending machines, the support passengers need when travelling on the railways and through stations has also changed. The proposals to move ticket office staff out from behind glass screens to more prominent positions in booking halls and on platforms aims to ensure those who need assistance can find somebody to speak to, whilst also ensuring help is on hand for those who need it when using ticket vending machines or purchasing travel passes online. I have been assured that the proposals will not see Harlow Town station become unstaffed, indeed, the staff will remain on hand across the station.” .......................... I would like to think that your position has changed and that you now oppose the closure of the Harlow Town Ticket Office - but I remain to be convinced that that is the case.