Rail ticket office hours to be slashed

PUBLISHED: 17:01 14 January 2009 | UPDATED: 21:17 26 October 2009

The ticket booth at Welwyn North

The ticket booth at Welwyn North

TICKET office opening times at four Times Territory rail stations are set to be slashed. Train operator First Capital Connect (FCC) has unveiled plans to cut ticket office hours at 28 of its stations, including WGC, Welwyn North, Knebworth and Cuffley. Bu

TICKET office opening times at four Times Territory rail stations are set to be slashed.

Train operator First Capital Connect (FCC) has unveiled plans to cut ticket office hours at 28 of its stations, including WGC, Welwyn North, Knebworth and Cuffley.

But the proposals have been criticised by the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT), which believes services will suffer and jobs may be lost as a result.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow believes any cuts will leave stations under-staffed at weekends and evenings, and said passengers would consequently feel "less secure".

He said: "Ticket machines are no substitute for real people offering help and advice.

"We know passengers want to see more staff on stations, not fewer, and these cuts are the last thing that commuters need."

According to the union, the ticket counter at Welwyn North is earmarked to shut at 1.15pm instead of 8pm, Monday to Friday.

Weekend hours would be unaffected.

It is understood the ticket booth at Cuffley will close on Sundays - it currently operates from 8.10am to 3.30pm - and will open at 7.35am instead of 7.10am on Saturdays.

As for Knebworth, the RMT says the ticket office will close at 10.50am rather than 3pm on weekdays, and will not open at all on Saturdays.

It also claimed rail operator FCC plans to reduce ticketing hours at WGC station by six hours, 40 minutes a week, and has urged travellers to contact rail watchdog Passenger Focus to formally object to the cuts.

A spokesman for FCC said any changes would not affect ticket office hours at peak times, and added the revised opening hours at Cuffley, Knebworth, Welwyn North and WGC were still subject to final consultation.

"Any change would be the first change to ticket office hours for some 10 years on the route, and follows a comprehensive review of all our ticket sales," he said.

"Evidence now shows that increasing numbers of our customers prefer to use ticket machines, which can typically dispense 90 per cent of all ticket types, usually within 60 seconds.

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