Campaign to stop ticket office closures launched

Published: August 03 2023
Last updated: August 16 2023

Grace Wood | The proposed changes could make the stations and their services inaccessible to disabled passengers

The ticket office is one of the most vital accessibility features of train stationsEpilepsy Action has joined with more than 70 other groups to campaign to stop ticket office closures on the UK rail network.

Launched by Transport for All, a disabled-led group that fights for access to transport and street space, the campaign says the proposed changes would make the stations and their services inaccessible to disabled passengers.

More than 70 organisations representing disabled people and allies, including Epilepsy Action, have written a letter of objection to the proposals.

Other charities backing the campaign include: Sense, Age UK, Parkinson’s UK and Scope.

The letter says the ticket office is one of the most vital accessibility features of train stations, adding: “It impacts everything from the ability to buy tickets, receive assistance, access site facilities, navigate the station, plan routes and feel confident in making journeys. Furthermore, we are shocked by the level of destaffing contained within these proposals.”

Epilepsy Action’s senior policy and campaigns manager Daniel Jennings said: “Many people with epilepsy are unable to drive and so rely on having a rail network that is safe to use and accessible. Station ticket offices have become vital hubs for people with epilepsy, as well as many other disabled people, to find assistance and support when travelling.

“Disabled people deserve to feel confident when making journeys and the proposal to close ticket offices will have a huge impact as they are a safety net for so many passengers.

“Rail travel should be an accessible mode of transport for all. Accessibility needs have not been considered in this decision and we fear that the safety of disabled passengers will be compromised if the closures go ahead.”

The letter adds that the ticket office closures would “likely violate both the Equality Act (2010) and the government’s Ticketing and Settlement Agreement ticket office guidance” – rules set out by secretary of state for transport.

Rail operators proposing to close ticket officers are: Avanti West Coast, Chiltern Rail, c2c, East Midlands Railway, Greater Anglia, Great Northern/Govia Thameslink, Great Western Railway, LNER, London Northwestern Railway, Northern, Southeastern Rail, Southern, South Western Rail, TransPennine Express and West Midlands Trains.