The consultation over the future of the nation’s railway station ticket offices closes on September 1, so there is still time to try to influence the government over its plans to offer only machines for the purchase of tickets.
As Inside Croydon has reported, the only stations in the borough not under threat of losing their ticket offices altogether are Norwood Junction and West Croydon – stations which are both operated by Transport for London – while there are plans to maintain some limited staffing for ticket assistance at East Croydon.
Although the consultation is being run on behalf of the rail operators, the closures have been exposed as a cost-cutting measure imposed from the Tory Government’s Department for Transport.
In the Tory-voting Croydon South constituency, 11 station ticket offices are set for closure under the controversial proposals.
And this has prompted even Conservative-supporting residents’ associations to pipe up against the closures.
John Clarke has submitted a letter on behalf of the Hartley and District Residents’ Association – HADRA – of which he is chairman.
Clarke’s letter expresses “major concerns” about the proposed closures.
Clarke’s submission says that HADRA residents use Coulsdon South, Reedham and Purley stations – all of which will have their ticket offices closed under the plans.
“Purley Station is one of the busiest stations in the borough because of its good links into central Croydon, London, Gatwick Airport and the south-east. It is used by a wide range of people, including the elderly, vulnerable and disabled, who still depend on these important facilities,” Clarke writes.
“Reedham Station, whilst smaller, is in an area which has a high elderly population and therefore benefits from the current arrangements.
“My residents are mainly on the elderly side and a lot of the time rely on the ticket office for advice.
“When we are talking about the over 60s, they have the use of the Freedom Pass after 09:30 in the morning. When they are trying to travel outside of this area, your ticket machines have no allowance for this kind of purchase and the only way that they can get the information and cost of travel is via the ticket office.
“This does not only apply to the elderly, it also has an effect on season ticket-holders and a lot of the other variations of tickets that you provide, as soon as you are trying to go outside of the area your ticket covers, your machines have no use at all and the only way these people can get a valid ticket is via the ticket office.
“Trying to do it any other way costs money because of the nature of the beast,” Clarke writes, spelling the matter out for those running the consultation in capital letters by explaining that the “beast” is “A TICKET MACHINE”.
“Please can you reconsider this idea and scrap it before it costs an awful lot of pensioners money, remembering that we are trying to get people out of their cars and on to public transport. Surely that is a good enough reason to improve our air quality which seems to be a major issue.
“In closing, I would just like to say that our whole system seems to be on costing Joe Public money. We have the highest cost of living for some years and now the Outer London area is being condemned to get us out of our cars with the new ULEZ arrangements. Surely, this is a good reason to keep the ticket offices open?”
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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