BROMSGROVE and Redditch Rail User Group (BARRUP) are the latest in a line of organisations to oppose government plans to close railway ticket offices in the region.
Ticket offices at Bromsgrove and Redditch railway stations are both set to close under the new West Midlands Railway (WMR) plans.
Under the proposals, open for consultation until July 26, operating ticket offices will be totally replaced by automated ticket machines and new ‘mobile teams’ which will operate on a ‘flexible basis’ at railway stations.
WMR say the proposals will reflect the biggest change to customer retailing since the 1990s, when 82 per cent of all tickets were sold at ticket offices, compared to just 12 per cent today.
The closures are being put forward by all of the government’s Department for Transport managed train companies meaning the proposals will affect rail users nationwide.
The new mobile teams are intended to provide customer service, passenger assistance, safety and general upkeep duties however BARRUP fear ‘there’s an element of social discrimination against those, such as the elderly, who rely on public ‘transport and don’t have smartphones and computers.’
Robert Cholmondeley, chairman of BARRUP, said: “We oppose the closures.
“Without smart devices, there will be no way to plan a return rail journey.
“The lack of information at stations has been exacerbated because West Midlands Rail has still not restored printed timetables post-covid.
“It’s an appalling state of affairs for a public service.”
BARRUP is encouraging all rail users to email [email protected] to comment during the consultation.