Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Confirmed - ticket office opening hours to be halved at Acocks Green

Liberal Democrat Transport Minister Norman Baker has approved a swathe of cuts to ticket office opening hours at a number of stations in the area. Apparently, he is 'protecting passenger interests' by taking away the ticket office staff, who also play a valuable role in reassuring passengers about safety on these stations. Instead, more machines will be installed, the sort that 'baffle passengers', according to Which magazine
The consumer watchdog Which? says that almost one in seven train passengers buys tickets from machines. In a survey, its researchers found that some ticket machines displayed unhelpful or meaningless information and others failed to show the price of different tickets. Several machines required researchers to choose between different routes, but then failed to show how much the different routes cost. Researchers saw “any permitted route” often displayed on screen, but this does not mean that any route is permitted. Rather, that you can travel by any route permitted by the train company.The Which? researchers were very rarely told what that permitted route was, so unless passengers carried a detailed rail map in their head, the route allowed would remain a puzzle.
I understand that from early 2013, when new ticket machines are installed, the opening hours for the ticket office at Acocks Green (a very busy station on the network) will be as follows:
Mon - Thu:   0700 - 1600
Fri:               0700 - 1800
Sat:              0800 - 1600
Sun:             CLOSED

This is a poor decision, especially with the plans in place to encourage more usage of the station by installing lifts and improved access.

Spring Road will also be slashed, with staffing hours reduced to just 4 hours a day Monday to Friday and five hours on Saturday, with a closure on Sundays.
Mon-Fri:     0700 - 1100
Sat:             0900 - 1400
Sun:            CLOSED

Tyseley will also face a hefty reduction in staffing hours, down to just 2 hours a day Monday to Friday, with no ticket office service at all at weekends.
Mon - Fri:   0700 - 0900
Sat/Sun:       CLOSED

You can find full details here.

This is unrelated to any decisions that may yet arise from the McNulty report which proposed a swathe of office closures across the national network, but it doesn't look good for either Spring Road or Tyseley.

All this is despite objections from disability groups and 18,000 passengers across the Midlands. As the chairman of CENTRO said, "London Midland recently said that reducing staff will not save them any money,,, we fail to see what possible benefits there are to London Midland, the Department for Transport or, most importantly, the passengers in driving through these changes."

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