Campaign update: consultation on the future of rail ticket offices is extended
Your work has made a difference. Widespread campaigning against the closure of rail ticket offices in England and Glasgow highlighted the extremely short consultation period which would have prevented many from putting forward their views. As a result, the Rail Delivery Group has extended the time for people to have their say until Friday 1 September 2023.
RNIB welcomes the extension of the consultation. This extension wouldn’t have happened without blind and partially sighted people speaking up, alongside many other groups who would be affected by such a backwards step on rail accessibility.
However, the closure of ticket offices should not have been proposed in the first place. Many stations remain inaccessible and ticket office staff can help passengers with the advice, information, assistance and sighted guidance they provide – from a fixed location that many blind and partially sighted people can navigate to independently.
In line with principles of good consultation, we would expect the consultation to have been extended even further, to last at least 12 weeks, and to be more accessible than the current convoluted process.
Since the consultation was launched on 5 July, we’ve been calling for as many people as possible to respond using our guidance and tips, and to speak up on social media about why ticket offices are essential. It’s now just as important to make your voice heard by Friday 1 September:
Matt Stringer, RNIB Chief Executive, said:
“Since plans to close train ticket offices were announced we have heard in great detail from blind and partially sighted people about the hugely damaging impact that this will have on their ability to travel independently, to buy tickets, and arrange assistance.
“The consultation has been extended today after we raised our concerns that a short and complex process would prevent many blind and partially sighted people from responding within the tight timeframe. We urge train operators to make the consultation itself more accessible through a standardised process, a tool to allow people to determine which train operating companies run the stations they care about and making formats such as large print or braille more quickly and easily available.
“We will continue to urge Mark Harper and Huw Merriman to halt these proposals and keep ticket offices open as the risk is to leave blind and partially sighted people behind a new barrier.”