RNIB opposes proposed closure of railway ticket offices and questions consultation period
On 5 July, train operators launched a public consultation on proposed changes to rail station ticket offices – which could lead to the majority of ticket offices closing in England.
RNIB is very concerned this would be another barrier to train travel faced by blind and partially sighted passengers, making it more difficult to travel independently.
Despite such major changes being proposed, the consultation is only open for 21 days, which is far too short. In line with principles of good consultation, we would expect the consultation to last at least 12 weeks.
Vivienne Francis, Chief Social Change Officer at RNIB said: “A mass closure of rail ticket offices would have a hugely detrimental impact on blind and partially sighted people’s ability to buy tickets, arrange assistance and, critically, travel independently.
“RNIB research shows that only 3 per cent of people with sight loss said they could use a ticket vending machine without problems and 58 per cent said it was impossible.
“The Government claims it wants to "bring staff out from behind the glass" but in truth, it risks leaving blind and partially sighted people behind a new barrier.”
RNIB is calling on the Government and train operators to extend the consultation period and to reconsider the closure of rail ticket offices, acknowledging the reality that disabled people are disproportionately reliant on ticket offices.