Changes to the way passengers buy tickets at London Midland stations will improve facilities to reflect changing needs while making efficiency savings, Transport Minister Norman Baker announced today (17 September 2012).
Mr Baker partly approved proposals by London Midland to change the minimum opening hours at some ticket offices, but protected the interests of passengers.
He has secured a number of important passenger benefits including:
- an extra 29 ticket vending machines at stations which do not currently have them allowing passengers to buy tickets around the clock
- additional shelters on platforms and better signage
- more boarding ramps for wheelchair users and station lifts to be kept in operation at all times - passengers who require assistance in making their journey will also be able to book this via a new industry website launched by ATOC last month
Four of the 9 ticket offices proposed for closure have been approved, while 5 others have been rejected. The ticket offices that will be allowed to close are Cheddington, Lye, Witton and Wythall. Adderley Park, Bescot Stadium, Duddeston, Jewellery Quarter and Small Heath will remain open.
Norman Baker said:
These changes will better reflect the way passengers buy their tickets while improving satisfaction and efficiency.
I have protected passenger interests while allowing changes that provide savings to taxpayers and passengers far beyond the life of the existing franchise which will ultimately save millions of pounds.
For example, Lye station, near Stourbridge, is currently staffed Mon-Fri for nearly 18 hours (from 0552-2346). On average across the week, it sells less than 4 tickets per hour. It is for this reason that we are allowing London Midland to close this ticket office.
A number of ticket offices will be allowed to reduce their opening hours during very quiet periods, while several ticket offices at busy stations will have their minimum opening hours extended. A full list of the changes has been published on the department’s website.
Notes to editors
The ticketing and settlement agreement is the agreement between train operators that sets out the various arrangements between train operators relating to the carriage of passengers and the retailing of tickets. A copy of the latest version is available from the ATOC website
The decision was referred to the Department for Transport to arbitrate under the existing rules of the ticketing and settlement agreement.
This decision is entirely separate from the recommendations made by Sir Roy McNulty, which recommended closure of ticket offices at a wider number of stations. The department is currently considering the recommendations of the McNulty report, and is looking at the issues in the context of a wider fares and ticketing review.
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