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.”
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.
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.