‘Huge relief’: Reaction as Scarborough rail ticket office saved from closure in Government U-turn
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Politicians and residents have welcomed transport secretary Mark Harper’s decision to ask train operators to withdraw their proposals for the closure of rail ticket offices.
The Government said plans to close almost all of England’s ticket offices were being withdrawn “because they failed to meet high passenger standards”.
The plan had faced considerable backlash from passengers, unions and disability groups during a recent public consultation.
The closures were put forward by train operators as a cost-cutting measure as they said that only 12 per cent of tickets were bought at station offices.
Local general election candidates for both the Conservative Party and Labour Party have welcomed the announcement.
Roberto Weeden-Sanz, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Scarborough and Whitby, said he was “delighted that the Government has saved Scarborough Ticket Office from closure following the clear community support to keep it open”.
Mr Weeden-Sanz told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “I, along with many neighbours in Scarborough and the wider community, objected to the plans during the consultation and I have raised the issue numerous times with the Department of Transport.
“Scarborough’s situation as a terminus and the fact our community has many elderly and less abled rail users means that it is important our ticket office remains open.”
He added: “Living in Scarborough I know first hand how well used the ticket office is and will always work to make sure the voice of our community and particularly those who are vulnerable are heard.”
Alison Hume, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Scarborough and Whitby, said it was a “huge relief” to the community that Scarborough Ticket Office “has been saved from closure along with hundreds of others across the country, and that hard-working staff will not lose their jobs before Christmas”.
Ms Hume told the LDRS: “The entire consultation was rushed and discriminatory, with disabled and elderly passengers excluded from the process.
“Tory ministers have serious questions to answer on their colossal waste of taxpayers’ money.”
She added: “A Labour government will put passengers back at the heart of our railways and deliver a better deal for taxpayers by bringing rail back into public ownership as contracts expire, with every decision tested against delivering for the passenger."