Blackpool North Station ticket office among those saved from closure
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The government has told train operators to withdraw their proposals to close ticket offices because they failed to meet high passenger standards.
Operators had drawn up the closure plans after coming under pressure to save money.
The decision to keep ticket offices open has been welcomed by Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard.
He said: “My focus has always been on delivering a passenger-focused railway. That means, at stations, ensuring assistance is always available when it is needed and that staff are available to provide help during times of disruption.
“Today’s news regarding ticket offices will be welcomed by many and provides clarity for rail operators and passengers.
“This decision ensures ticket offices remain open. However, we must continue to look at how staff can be deployed to better assist passengers, particularly those with accessibility needs.
“Alongside very welcome investment in stations across the north of England, I am sure operators can continue to explore how this can be delivered.”
Stephen Brookes, Blackpool-based rail policy adviser for Disability Rights UK, said: “I am pleased the time wasting period of the DfT considering closing ticket offices is behind us.
“For all our rail using residents in and around Blackpool we now need to address the issues which deter people from rail travel and we will now concentrate on the insane rail fare policies and better customer support.”
Watchdog Transport Focus carried out public consultation nationally in relation to the proposed closures.
Among the responses was one from a user of Blackpool North, who said: “I have used Blackpool North station for 50 years and have always found themhelpful, efficient and friendly.
“They have helped with complicated journeys, rail cards, and I value their support.
“I would find it difficult to manage without them, I prefer paper tickets and railcards, as do many people.
“It is a very busy station all year with locals and visitors so a properly functioning ticket office with enough staff is vital.”
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “The proposals that have resulted from this process do not meet the high thresholds set by ministers, and so the Government has asked train operators to withdraw their proposals.”