Campaigners step up Evesham ticket closure office plan opposition - The Evesham Observer

Campaigners step up Evesham ticket closure office plan opposition

Evesham Editorial 11th Aug, 2023   0

CAMPAIGNERS have called on Evesham and Pershore residents to make their voices heard after a consultation on controversial ticket office closures was extended by under fire rail chiefs.

The 1,400 strong Cotswold Line Promotion Group(CLPG), which works to safeguard, promote and improve services on the Cotswolds and Malverns Line, had objected to the initial ‘restricted’ three-week consultation period.

Furious group members slammed rail chiefs and for the timing of it during the peak holiday month of July when many regular travellers would be on summer holidays.

Under the plans, all ticket offices in their current form would close over the next three years, apart from several ‘hub stations’, such as Worcester Foregate Street, Birmingham Snow Hill, Sutton Coldfield, University and Wolverhampton.

Evesham’s ticket office window will close outright though staff will continue to be available from 6.20am to 12.50pm Monday to Friday and 7.20am to 1.50pm on Saturdays.

Meanwhile Worcestershire Parkway’s ticket office windows will be reduced while staff will continue to be available from 5am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 7am to 8pm on Saturdays and from 8am to 4.30pm on Sundays.

The consultation on the proposed reforms was due to end on July 26 but has now been extended until September 1.

Independent watchdog Transport Focus and London TravelWatch have received more than 170,000 comments on the proposals so far.

The CLPG has also lodged objections to the rail watchdog body Transport Focus over the plans which would lead to all eight ticket offices on the Cotswolds and Malverns Line between Hereford and Oxford closing.

The group has also written to the line’s ten MPs on the route highlighting the customer service issues caused by staff cutbacks.

Ticket offices at Evesham and Charlbury could all be axed as early as the spring, say campaigners.

Many users expressed their anxieties to CLPG members when the group took its campaign to Evesham and Moreton-in-Marsh Stations with many signing the stations’ petitions and keen to send reply paid cards to register their objections.

Most were concerned with the loss of the first point of contact at their local station, restricted help on and off trains for the elderly and disabled and poorer access to the best fares for those unable to go online or use ticket machines.

Many feared station toilets and waiting rooms would be closed for longer periods and unstaffed stations more prone to vandalism and anti-social behaviour

Group chairman Colin Major said “We do not see the proposals improving the passengers’ experience and sadly the plans will deter many people from using the train which is one of the most environmentally friendly modes of travel.”

Anyone who wishes to make a comment on the plans is asked to visit or write to Transport Focus at Freepost, RTEH-XAGE-BYKZ, Transport Focus, PO Box 5594, Southend-on-Sea SS1 9PZ


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