There are more ticket office closures planned for Croydon South than for any other constituency in Croydon and Sutton.
As many as 11 stations in the area are under threat of closure under the controversial proposals.
And now the MP for Croydon South, Conservative government minister Chris Philp, is urging constituents to take part in the public consultation before the deadline of September 1.
A total of 18 ticket offices across Sutton and Croydon have been earmarked for closure, some possibly before the end of this year under the proposals to remove ticketing staff from more than 1,000 stations around England.
The proposals have been roundly criticised for ignoring the needs of passengers, especially the disabled and the elderly, while the short-comings of often malfunctioning ticket machines have also been highlighted, particularly in respect of their failure to be able to sell all types of ticket.
The proposals have been put forward by the Rail Delivery Group, though most passenger groups, transport experts, rail unions and disability groups who oppose the recommendations suspect that it is a budget-reducing, job-cutting measure from the Department for Transport.
Railways expert Christian Wolmar said, “Ticket office closures will not save money as revenue will be lost and staff are needed. Ticket machines are not fit for purpose.”
Wolmar said, “Until the pandemic, train operators were responsible for paying for ticket offices and closed very few judging they were economically worthwhile. Now ministers with no commercial background are taking the opposite view.”
Passenger numbers have never recovered after the covid lockdown and are at their lowest since 2002, with revenue 30per cent below 2020 levels.
The proposals will affect most stations in Croydon and Sutton.
Norwood Junction and West Croydon staions will keep their ticket offices, though, since they are operated by TfL Overground.
Sutton Station and East Croydon, one of the biggest transport hubs in south-east England, will retain some form of “information office” that will be able to sell tickets.
Otherwise, ticket offices face closure.
In Croydon North, that spells doom for the ticket offices at Norbury, Thornton Heath and Selhurst stations.
In Conservative MP Chris Philp’s Croydon South constituency, the list is much more extensive:
- South Croydon
- Purley Oaks
- Coulsdon Town
- Coulsdon South
South Croydon Station straddles two constituencies, including Croydon Central, and apart from East Croydon is the only station in MP Sarah Jones’s constituency.
Today, Croydon South’s Philp told Inside Croydon, “I have been raising constituents’ concerns and my own concerns about this issue with ministers through regular correspondence, and I have spoken directly at some length with the Minister of State for Rail, Huw Merriman, about this too.
“This is a consultation – which means that nothing has been decided and there is scope for material changes from what is currently being consulted upon.
“Anyone concerned about this issue should reply to the consultation by September 1.”
What can you do?
- Respond to the consultation opposing the plans by September 1 https://www.londontravelwatch.org.uk/southern-ticket-office-consultation/
- Sign the petition against ticket office closures https://www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/cut-their-profits-not-our-ticket-offices and sign up for campaign updates.
- You can also write to your MP to oppose ticket office closures https://actionnetwork.org/letters/write-to-your-mp-save-ticket-offices/
- And share your experiences online using the hashtag #SaveTicketOffices
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