Demonstration against railway ticket office closures to take place at Margate station

Protest against ticket office closures Photo Ian Shacklock

A demonstration will be held at Margate railway station tomorrow (August 12) protesting at plans to shut ticket offices..

Train operators, including Southeastern, have launched public and employee consultations over proposals to close the ticket offices in all but the busiest stations.

Members of East Kent RMT ( National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) have been demonstrating against the plans and say the latest protest aims to gather more signatures from the public supporting ticket office retention.

Spokesman Mick Jordan said: “The protest will start at 11am and has been chosen to coincide with Margate Pride for maximum publicity and hopefully add to the huge amount of signatures already gathered nationwide to try and halt this brutal attack on Jobs and how people wish to purchase their tickets.”

Previous protest in Ramsgate Photo Ian Shacklock

Speaking at a previous protest held at Ramsgate station an RMT member said: ““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.”

Rail union TSSA has also been a vocal opponent of the planned closures since they were announced, citing fears they will have a hugely detrimental impact on the rail network, leading to 2000 job losses, reducing station safety, access to travel deals and independence for disabled people and other groups.

The union has been campaigning at stations and working with MPs, local decision makers and many concerned rail users.

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.

Photo Ian Shacklock

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.

The Rail Delivery Group Public consultation deadline has been extended 1 September. More than 170,000 people have responded to the proposals.

32 Comments

  1. This morning, there were queues at both ticket offices at Rmagate.
    Machines can’t cope with the huge variety of questions and concerns the travelling public need answering.

  2. They’d get more signatures if rather than going on strike, they just didn’t charge customers, give free tickets to travel, that way it WILL hurt the company but not the customer.

  3. Yesterday I tried to buy a train ticket online only to fall at the last fence when the site would not accept my card details and triggered the bank putting a stop on my card. I’ve used that card for many purchases including train tickets before. Husband travels by train a lot but this particular site perplexed him as well as me all along – getting best price and including senior railcard was far from easy.
    Sorted things out with my bank then trundled down to station where I was delighted to see a real human being in the ticket office. Charming gent who apparently didn’t mind being described as an endangered species proceeded to find the cheapest tickets at speed and printed out a route for me to boot. Sure, ticket offices are vital for disabled people and for anyone who is a little nervous about using the machine or buying online but they are often really useful and helpful for those who are able-bodied and fairly confident as well. And when journeys are a little tricky and getting the right ticket requires a bit of thought, the machines require that anyone over 5 feet tall stands in a semi-crouching ‘stress position’ peering at the display screen for some time while those behind emanate frustration. Seems to me that a ‘machine only’ situation will result in many paying over the odds for tickets just to shorten the process. Surely the train companies wouldn’t want that! Oh ….

  4. Well considering they’ve just announced more strikes, I hope they all lose their jobs. Sick of them.
    Automate everything including the trains.

    • Ditto! I know people who have lost a fortune in money because they can’t always commute to London (and I’m talking about construction workers not bankers), as well as people who have cancelled holidays. Shell fish Uckinge buzzards!

    • Who exactly are you sick of, Disgruntled? The helpful ticket office staff whose jobs are at risk? Or the elderly and disabled passengers who rely heavily on the advice and help from the staff?

      Why can’t you direct your anger at the ruthless fat cats and the government ministers who are driving these horrible cuts?

      • Surely this is simply technological advances rather than horrible cuts.
        A stoker is not longer need to feed the coal into the firebox of a steam engine because technology has moved on, along with many, many other things. Canalmen are no longer needed to move goods, cart horses are not longer needed to move goods from the canals, stage coaches are no longer needed to move people. These were replaced by the railways & now this industry is being updated. Unfortunately as with most this, this inevitably means less man power is needed to achieve the same result.

        • You’re missing the point. This is about customer needs as well as jobs. Humans are still humans, regardless of any productive or counterproductive technological changes. Why should we be forced to use machines or the internet when we’re paying for a service.

          • It’s a shame this website doesn’t have a mailing address and letters page. That way you wouldn’t be “forced” to use machines and the internet every time you want to comment.

          • Keep up the good work, Ms Pink! It’s really helpful to have people like you on board, challenging the customers who are too stupid, lazy or stubborn to operate the internet. If only we could ban them from our shops and railways altogether!

          • Not sure how anyone on here are “too stupid, lazy or stubborn to operate the internet”. You do understand that THIS is the internet too?

          • Ms Pink, are you still clinging onto the argument that if you’re prepared to use ONE machine or ONE internet feature then you should be prepared to use them all?

            Has it occurred to you that no money changes hands when subscribers submit their comments in these threads? Quite a contrast to trusting a website to snatch your savings in return for an invisible ticket.

          • Yes, I am away… which is why the Post Office (and their thousands of workers) are struggling so much these days.

  5. Mick Lynch hasn’t even put the latest offer to the members. He’s ruining the service and it’s his fault if his members lose their jobs.

    • @Fred, once you’ve sacked all the staff who help to make the railways safe and secure for its passengers, would you also like to ban all disabled and elderly passengers? In the eyes of a greedy capitalist, those types of passenger must be a drain on resources and a threat to shareholder profit!

  6. No need for ticket office if all tickets are sold at a fixed price via machine. Improve the machine make them easier to read and put them in better locations. Stations still need cleaners and platform staff.

    • But Fred, that is not going to happen. Pricing complexity resulting in customers paying more than they need to is, increasingly, a nice little racket.

    • @Fred, why do you dislike the idea of human beings interacting with each other and being gainfully employed? Have you simply not thought this one through?

  7. I have thought this through, and whilst I am willing to interact with people who are supposed to give customers service I have found that most of the employees whether in shops, cafes railway stations etc have the personality of a wet dishcloth , whatever happened to a simple good morning or even a please and thank you. It’s obvious to me that customer service standards are almost non existent and I have worked in jobs all my life that are face to face with with the public.Bring in the machine at least it can’t be rude.

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