Protest held at Ramsgate railway station against ticket office closures

Ticket office closure protest at Ramsgate station

Some 483 signatures were collected and more than 1000 leaflets handed out during a protest at Ramsgate railway station today (July 18) against the planned closure of ticket offices.

Staff and groups representing the elderly and passengers requiring assisted travel, along with members of the Green Party and local activists, were in attendance to gain signatures so that a public consultation can be invoked.

Photo Ian Shacklock

A spokesperson for demonstration organisers East Kent RMT ( National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) said: “The general feeling from passengers travelling was that this a brutal and unnecessary action which has probably come along a generation to soon.

“Many people still require help with finding the cheapest tickets and help with times and journey planning. The thought of not being able to get what is required is causing a lot of people anguish and making them very angry.

“A huge thanks to all those who attended and hopefully every single signature will have some effect on implementing a u turn by the government.”

Among the demonstrators was Christine Tongue of disability campaign group Access Thanet.

She said: “Closing ticket offices is bad news for all passengers but it is going to be a cause of real hardship for people with disabilities.”

Christine said online systems are not a viable alternative for most disabled people.

She said: “To travel on trains disabled people need to book assistance and this is much easier to do face to face than online, but for people with visual problems, it’s essential.

“Electronic ticket machines are almost impossible to use for anyone in a wheelchair or a mobility scooter. The screens are hard to see unless you’re standing and it’s impossible to book complicated through tickets without proper advice. This is true even for able people, but for disabled people it can be disastrous.”

Ticket office proposals

People using Ramsgate’s ticket office Photo Dan Thompson

There are plans to close ticket offices in all but the busiest stations.

Train operators, including Southeastern, have launched public and employee consultations.

The Railway Delivery Group says the proposals are designed to move staff out of ticket offices and onto station platforms and concourses to support better, face-to-face interactions, with the potential to close ticket offices in a number of locations.

If accepted, the proposed changes would be phased in gradually. Ticket office facilities will remain open at the busiest stations and interchanges.

For Southeastern there are 180 stations and 142 ticket offices. At the conclusion of Southeastern’s consultation, the following is proposed:

At 14 of the busiest stations, Travel Centres will be provided, offering a combination of travel information and ticketing solutions.

At Southeastern’s medium and larger sized stations, where it is agreed ticket offices are no longer required, they will be closed. Overall, these stations will have fewer staff.

At Southeastern’s smaller stations, where the only staff member currently on the station is the person in the ticket office, if agreed, the ticket office will be closed.

18 smaller stations, where vacancies have resulted in the station being temporarily unstaffed, will be restaffed as staff are redeployed.

Rail Delivery Group Public consultation.


  1. It’s disgraceful and unbelievable that the rail companies want to close ticket offices, without a thought for the vulnerable people in society that use the broken, dysfunctional railway system in this country. I know it’s vital for any business to turn a profit, however before stake holders dividend which should not be guaranteed, they need to reinvest in the service to maintain it, improve it and ensure there is sufficient trained staff and facilities fit for purpose. Like all the privatisation which has occurred under various Tory governments, it’s profit first snd inadequate value for money service delivered later, with inadequate re investment. Look at the waste of money parkway station, it’s well over budget and will be well under used, it’s disgraceful, when will they want to close Ramsgate station, which has facilities for train maintenance, proper adequate platforms, facilities and services the entire town of Ramsgate, cliffsend, and dumpton. What a mismanagement by KCC, local and central government, another vanity project, its not on a different line after all. #buildonbrownfieldbuildonmanston

    • Are these the same people who went on strike, because they didn’t care about the vulnerable people in society then !! I would also suggest that the rail workers went on strike during Labour governments.

      • Don’t defend the indefensible it’s pathetic. If it wasn’t for all the inadequate investment in staff wages, and service over the years, this wouldn’t be happening now. Never mind though I’m sure when you get your next share dividend it will make you feel better about yourself and self serving tories. #buildonbrownfieldbuildonmanston

        • I dont have shares in the Railway, although I expect some rail workers do. It still dosnt answer the question. Are these the same people who didnt care about the vulnerable people when the rail strike was on. Also staff wages. Average wage for a Train driver about 60 thousand a year plus overtime and bonuses. Guards about 30 thousand a year. Not a bad wage eh.

    • Hear Hear Steve! These people along with the Tory’s know the cost of everything and the value of nothing! As someone who is not only visually impaired, I don’t own a mobile phone as I have no use of one! Yesterday I tried phoning Barclays Bank, and was referred to their Customer Support people. A recording came on saying press 1 to leave a message using my “Smart Phone” duuurh! Whats a Smart Phone anyway if you can’t see the letters properly, I despair!

    • I agree but sadly our existing stations, although excellent when you get there, have neither adequate parking of bus service!

      • Ramsgate has a bus which stops right outside, Broadstairs bus usvery near and has ample parking.

  2. I’d much prefer they carried my luggage rather than hid in ticket offices. It’s near impossible to find a railway porter in this country these days!

  3. Not the strikers closing ticket offices, which proves the point about cutting to pay you your dividend annually.

  4. Me to, all the privatised groups should be nationalised, utilities and services such as rail. With the right budgets, plans, management and culture of service, it will improve beyond expectations.

  5. Ticket machines aren’t exactly ergonomic for people of about 5′ 5″ or over. Waited for 10 minutes or so yesterday behind an elderly man who seemed fazed both by the machine itself and the stressful crouching position he had to adopt to read instructions. And at 5′ 8″ I knew exactly how he felt. Add a backpack and/or the need to keep an eye on luggage + stress of queue behind you and getting the correct ticket becomes quite a challenge.

  6. Ticket machines aren’t exactly ergonomic for people of about 5′ 5″ or over. Waited for 10 minutes or so yesterday behind an elderly man who seemed fazed both by the machine itself and the stressful crouching position he had to adopt to read instructions. And at 5′ 8″ I knew exactly how he felt. Add a backpack and/or the need to keep an eye on luggage + stress of queue behind you and getting the correct ticket becomes quite a challenge.

  7. We tried to buy tickets once at a station that normally had staff. But this time ,for some reason, nobody was there. A notice helpfully recommended the ticket machine.
    We had paid to park our car already. Despite the combined intelligence of quite a gathering crowd , nobody could make head nor tail of what the machine was talking about, let alone manage to pay for a ticket.
    Despite having paid for the parking,like many others, we got back in the car and drove all the way. Parking some distance from the town centre whereas the railway station would have been much more convenient.
    And, NO, we weren’t elderly and confused, nor lacking O-Levels , (and more!) nor were we drunk or in need of language translations. Though, on second thoughts,a lot of ticket machines talk a foreign language. Not as bad as parking ticket machines which are multi-lingual except for plain English.
    ALL stations should have permanent staff including security and ticket staff. So should all trains.
    The companies “won’t be able to afford it”?
    They shouldn’t be in the business if they can’t provide the service we want at a price we can afford.

    • The future, thanet parkway NO ticket office , No proper security and No staff and the selling point was to create new jobs!!

    • I once tried to buy a ticket from a machine in King’s Cross.
      Although I managed to press the buttons to select a ticket, I could not work out how to actually pay for it.
      In the end I gave up and did what I should have done in the first place: bought the ticket from a ticket office.
      I used to write programs for a living. I am computer savvy. But the machine had me flummoxed.

  8. Quicker to use the machine or train app than stand in a queue whilst someone asks umpteen questions for the same ticket!!

    See rent a disabled protester was there too “surprise surprise”

    Can’t wait to hear about that in its weekly rant!

    Anyway.. they won’t lose their job and more people on the platform so all good

    • I wonder why someone was asking umpteen questions about their ticket?
      Who would they ask, if there was no-one there?

    • There were five disabled people at the protest, including me. I’m not paid to be disabled but if you think I can be rented please offer a fee and give me a new career! There are not many job opportunities for elderly disabled people…

  9. oh no, Incorrect sacking platform staff is on the cards once they get rid of ticket office staff, then the guards. I believe you have the right to use a ticket machine if YOU want and likewise I believe people should have the right to buy a ticket from a ticket office. It’s called CHOICE

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