Our public transport networks are a lifeline for some of our communities. They’re a hot topic of discussion, usually focused on service coverage and cost. Now the government and rail companies are proposing to make it even harder for some people to travel by closing ticket offices across the country, including the Northern office at Barnsley station.
The proposals are to close most of the ticket offices in railway stations across England, including six in South Yorkshire. Under the plans, all ticket offices in their current form would close over the next three years, but major stations would keep ticket offices as travel centre hubs.
It’s focused on a move to online and digital bookings, but the government and rail companies need to have a reality check that not everyone can make online bookings or pay with a card. They need to make sure that the number of people they’re proposing to have as helpers in stations will be enough to deal with the large numbers of people they’re going to need to support. I would also like to see plans for how they’re going to stop more people from getting on trains without tickets. This may need more people in different roles which may be self-defeating in saving money.
Services should absolutely modernise and respond to the changing world. It’s something that we do well in Barnsley, but public transport must be easier and more convenient to use, and these proposals do not support that for our local people.
It’s important that the government and rail companies hear how this may impact your train journeys, so I urge you to voice your views on these proposals by Friday 28 July 2023.