The decision by transport bosses to close nearly 1,000 ticket offices across the UK network would discriminate against older people and those with disabilities and force them to stay in their homes.
The transport bosses claim ticket offices are no longer needed because most passengers buy online, through smartphone apps or at station machines. This discriminates against older people because they are less likely to book online or use apps. They plan on axing ticket offices at 974 stations, nearly everyone in the country, and say staff will be re-deployed to platforms and concourses.
This decision follows pressure by the Tory government for rail operators to cut spending after the Covid pandemic led to a drop in passengers.
Over one million people have given up their broadband contracts, most because they cannot afford them, and so have far less access to online booking.
Older and disabled people rely on staff at ticket offices helping them. Ticket machines do not have a full range of tickets, they do not take cash, and don’t always offer a good deal. In addition, ticket office staff have a wide knowledge and experience of travel on the rail network and can find the cheapest and best routes to destinations.
Ticket office sales still stand at 180 million journeys, so the line that ticket offices are no longer being used is tosh. In the drive for everyone to get a smartphone, be online
The drive for everyone to be online, have a smartphone, use AI , marginalises those who cannot afford to do so, or are reluctant or puzzled how to use these technologies.
In the process, older people, disabled people and the impoverished are pushed aside.
Photo: ACG flag at Ticket Office demo on August 31st, 2023 in London