MP opposes Slade Green ticket office closure and reduced Crayford service
PUBLISHED: 10:59 07 September 2011
Bexleyheath and Crayford David Evennett has written to the Secretary of State for Transport opposing the proposed closures of the ticket office at Slade Green station together with the reduction of opening hours at Crayford station.
Mr Evennett’s letter to Philip Hammond follows the publication of the Realising the potential of GB Rail report, commissioned by the last government, which recommends the closure of one in four ticket offices in a range of measures aimed to save £1 billion a year from the rail industry.
The 675 ticket stations earmarked for closure, which were released on Tuesday (6) include the one at Slade Green, while Crayford’s could have its opening hours reduced.
In his letter, Mr Evennett wrote: “I am aware that some vulnerable and disabled passengers use this station (Slade Green) to get to Inspire Community Trust, a social care charity nearby that provides important services. I would be very concerned if such vulnerable people, as well as other travellers, were not able to obtain assistance and travel advice that is offered at ticket office windows.
“Similarly, a reduction in the opening hours of the ticket offices at Category D stations, such as Crayford, could also be particularly disadvantageous to commuters, as they may not be able to obtain the cheaper fares that ticket machines do not always offer.”
If the plans are approved by the government, it would mean passengers at category E stations would have to buy tickets from vending machines, which do not always offer the cheapest fare available. It also recommends reducing the opening hours for ticket offices at all category D stations.
A spokesman for train operator Southeastern, said: “This is a political debate for the Department for Transport to decide on. Southeastern’s franchise agreement states that we have no power to close ticket offices or even alter opening times.”
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “We are currently considering the findings of Sir Roy McNulty’s independent report and any of his proposed changes to rail fares or ticketing will be examined as part of a government review.”