13/01/2009

Ministers Protect Ticket Office Hours

Plans by South West Trains to reduce the opening hours of ticket offices have in large part been rejected by Ministers following public consultation.

The rail company had wanted to make radical cuts in its ticket office opening hours at 114 stations.

Transport Minister Andrew Adonis said: "We have acted to protect passengers from unacceptable cuts, ensuring that tickets continue to be easily available and that ticket offices are staffed during busy periods.

"We have rejected many of the proposed cutbacks in opening hours because we were not convinced they were in passenger's interests.

"We have also sought an assurance from South West Trains that, where ticket office hours are reduced in periods of very low demand, passengers can still buy a wide range of tickets from machines, with easy helpline support where necessary.

"In addition we have agreed that there will be no charges for tickets purchased in advance over the internet or phone. I now expect SWT to staff their ticket offices to the agreed level."

South West Trains had wanted to reduce ticket office opening hours at 114 stations across the network, including in many cases over week days, as well as weekends.

The Government has rejected proposals by the rail company to reduce hours at offices during times when on average 12 or more tickets are issued hourly.

This includes the rejection of around 80% of changes that would have seen no Saturday openings and around 65% of changes that would have seen no Sunday openings.

South West Trains had also proposed altering hours at 105 stations during the midweek period - 53 of these proposals were rejected by Ministers, 14 wholly and 39 in part.

(JM/BMcC)

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