Labour candidates attack sham ticket office consultation
Updated: Jul 26
Labour candidates for Parliament in Bournemouth attack “sham” ticket office closures consultations.
Labour’s candidates for Parliament in Bournemouth East and Bournemouth West, Tom Hayes and Jessica Toale, have attacked the “sham consultation” over rail ticket office closures and accused the government of “dodging accountability”. Despite a decision affecting more than 150 million passenger journeys, passengers have been given just two weeks left to respond.
Statistics from the Office of Rail and Road show 2,010,170 entries and exits by passengers at Bournemouth Central, 241,732 entries and exits by passengers at Pokesdown, and 149,928 entries and exits by passengers at Branksome in 2021-22.
The candidates have sent a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport
demanding urgent answers and expressing concerns.
The Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh has warned that key claims from ministers on job security, ticketing, and technology are “falling apart under scrutiny”:
Despite pledging that the decision was “all about taking expert ticketing staff into…the station”, the Transport Minister Huw Merriman appeared to admit jobs will be lost.
Despite promising the closures will mean “a modern service, passengers expect” parliamentary questions revealed just 17 percent of stations with have contactless ticketing by the end of the year.
And it has been revealed a range of products will not be available at ticket machines, including season tickets, railcards, and seat reservations.
The decision has prompted a fierce backlash nationwide from disability
groups and caused widespread concern in parliament, with more than 150
million journeys per year set to be affected.
And concerned Conservative MPs have warned “there is always a queue of
people wanting route advice, people with disabilities who cannot use the
machines and people wanting refunds.”
Others warned: “I can only imagine the complex and quite convoluted
conversations at ticket machines that will have to take place about
journey planning, and the long line of other passengers waiting to access
Tom Hayes, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Bournemouth
East, and Jessica Toale, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for
Bournemouth West, said:
“We know that people across Bournemouth are concerned about this sham consultation and the damage these changes would make. Local people appreciate the option of counter staff, but these proposals will make our railways stations less accessible, safe, and supportive. It isn’t fair on local people or our local economy to do yet more damage to our railway. Enough is enough. Bournemouth deserves better and the Government should stop this sham consultation.”
Louise Haigh MP, Shadow Transport Secretary, said:
“Ministers are dodging accountability, while their key claims fall apart
“Railroading this botched plan through in just 21 days, without
consideration for staff and disabled passengers, only risks exacerbating
the managed decline of the rail network.
“Ministers should stop dodging accountability, halt this sham consultation,
and come clean on the damage these closures will do.”