Harlow MP Robert Halfon issues statement on government u-turn over railway ticket offices
News / Tue 31st Oct 2023 at 03:20pm
ROBERT Halfon MP is thanking every resident who responded to his consultation on proposals to close ticket offices at railway stations in Harlow and across the country.
Train companies, including Greater Anglia, have been consulting on proposals that will see staff move from behind the ticket office screens to other roles across stations. On behalf of Harlow residents who had contacted him, Robert expressed his concerns for those passengers who may be disadvantaged by these proposals to Rail Minister, Huw Merriman, and to Greater Anglia directly.
The Government has confirmed today that, after listening to local residents and railway passengers, proposals to close ticket offices will not go ahead.
Commenting on the decision to keep ticket offices open, Mr Halfon said, “Following the announcement that ticket offices in Harlow and across the country have been saved, I would like to thank everybody who got in touch to share their views on the proposals and also the Rail Minister and colleagues from Greater Anglia for their time and consideration of my representations on behalf of Harlow residents.
“When the consultation was launched in the summer, hundreds of constituents and local stakeholder groups told me that they did not want these proposals to go ahead. That’s why I made it clear to my Ministerial colleagues and to local rail operators that I strongly opposed these plans.
“It is wrong that any vulnerable person should fear that any reforms will be detrimental to them and make their journeys more difficult, more dangerous and less enjoyable. I welcome the news that proposals to close ticket offices will not go ahead. The Government has listened to the concerns of rail passengers and has rightly acted to protect everybody who uses the railways. “
Another Classic Halfon moment! Sat on the fence for ages, refusing to comment or endorse the local campaign to stop these absurd and detrimental closures yet now tries to look like he was always against them. As always from him, too little too late, Harlow residents work hard, getting on with standing up for the town while he’s busy working hard for Halfon!
Well , that's one bit if good news.. Why did you sit on fence Mr halfon.
Another classic u turn
Mr Halfon - you should be ashamed of yourself. When have you ever spoken up for the people of Harlow in this issue? Your silence spoke volumes. We need ticket offices. And you know it.
Did you "strongly oppose" ticket office closures Mr Halfon? You never published your letter to Mark Harper so how do we know? In the Your Harlow article of the 31st of August - you did not oppose ticket office closures as such but rather called for "more protections for vulnerable railway passengers". We do know that the Train Companies are furious at todays decision to backtrack on the plans. As a senior rail source told both the BBC and the PA Media News Agency "They have been made to sell these plans, defend them, and change them to try and get them over the line. All in the face of the inevitable onslaught of criticism. All of these plans were approved and signed off by officials and ministers at the DfT." You were/are part of the Government that backed these proposals in the first place - and now you want to claim some credit for your alleged role in getting the Government to perform a U Turn!
Credit where credits due: I guess like other MPs, our MP consulted: got a reply and the proposal was dropped. Common sense prevailed over profit. As Dominic Cummings revealed yesterday and many other local and national politicians have since the show was first broadcast, the way things are done in the UK is truly mirrored by the TV show "Yes Minister " at Westminster and in town hall's all over the country: run by Sir Humphrey's and their old boy networks. The Ticket offices response is almost a unique event. Sadly it doesn't go far enough, everyone who has had to catch a train from an isolated station late at night or can't get a ticket from a broken or confusing ticket machine will know how vulnerable and stressed one can be. Old station houses (housing) and waiting rooms have been systematically demolished for the sake of lining the pockets of foreign speculators. The railways are a national service fundamental to developing the economy and we once had a comprehensive network across most of the country but because our governments didn't think it through most was axed and privatised. Pity that the same ignorance prevailed when the water companies were sold off. The question at the time should have been "How much sewage would you like to see in every river and on every beach in the UK? You can have millions of gallons daily so we can pay and allow foreign governments and speculators to make shitloads of money or we can govern better, protect the environment and deliver lower prices and clean water as a national service" Ditto health care, ditto energy, ditto council housing. As Cummings said, government puts on a show to give the appearance of competence but popins (and the public can independently observe other private influences (eg PPE contracts) actually run government for a small governing class not for the people.