In great news for rail passengers across Bedford Borough the Conservative Government has put a stop to proposals being rammed through by rail companies to close all ticket offices after they failed to convince Ministers that they would be able to sell a full range of tickets, handle cash payment and avoid excessive queues.
The proposed closure of these offices negatively impacted a great number of people, especially passengers who do not use automated or online services - these ticket offices act as a crucial point of contact in starting a rail journey.
Bedford Borough would have been impacted greatly as the station is a major rail hub with thousands using this station and its lines to travel for work and leisure.
In order to help campaign for keeping these offices open the Conservative Council unanimously passed a motion to protect these ticket offices emphasising that modernisation doesn’t mean forgoing face to face services.
The Council and Mayor also extensively lobbied to keep these offices open – lobbying the Transport Minister and Richard Fuller MP alongside submitting our opposition to the proposal. Raising issues around people with disabilities who have expressed concern about their travel safety and security, job security for staff and what the new service will look like.
Of course, it isn’t just our success, a huge pat on the back should go to all the people who campaigned to keep these ticket offices alive such as the national charity, Guide Dogs who raised concerns that “many ticket vending machines are simply inaccessible for people with sight loss”. It was a team effort across the UK.
Conservative Mayor for Bedford Borough, Tom Wootton commented,
“This is great news for rail passengers across the country, alongside meeting with the Minister and Richard Fuller MP it is important to recognise the huge campaign and petitions nationally that led the way.
We’re all for change and modernisation, but it has to work for everyone.”