MPs wade in to station ticket office cuts row

PUBLISHED: 09:45 22 February 2009 | UPDATED: 09:44 27 October 2009

Ticket offices, like this one at Welwyn North, are set to have their opening hours slashed

Ticket offices, like this one at Welwyn North, are set to have their opening hours slashed

POLITICIANS have expressed their concern at plans to cut rail ticket office opening hours across Times Territory. Rail operator First Capital Connect (FCC) wants to cut booking office hours at 28 of its stations, including WGC, Welwyn North, Knebworth and

Grant Shapps MP, Shadow Housing Minister talks at the Conservative Party launch of their new initatives to the housing market, which include scraping the unpopular HIPs whilst keeping the EPCs, and to improve the process of moving home.
Photo/Anna Branthwaite
07-12-07

POLITICIANS have expressed their concern at plans to cut rail ticket office opening hours across Times Territory.

Rail operator First Capital Connect (FCC) wants to cut booking office hours at 28 of its stations, including WGC, Welwyn North, Knebworth and Cuffley.

The plans have met stiff resistance from rail unions and commuter groups and now three MPs have added their weight to the criticism.

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps, himself a regular rail user, said: "Everyone knows a deserted station hardly lends itself to a feeling of passenger security and so booking offices have traditionally done more than just provided tickets.

"They help with information, direction and provide a sense of community in the nearby surroundings."

He said he had written to FCC's managing director Elaine Holt to express his concern, and to seek assurances about security measures like CCTV.

Stevenage MP Barbara Follett, whose constituency includes Knebworth, said: "I understand and share people's concern about the impact that these proposals could have on customer service at Knebworth railway station.

"That is why I have written to the transport minister about them."

And Cuffley's MP Charles Walker said: "As far as station ticket office closures are concerned, we're not the worst affected.

"But having a staffed ticket office does reassure customers and is a place of contact if there are any problems.

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