Please find below an email sent to Tribune Councillor Adrian Myers from the RMT General Secretary, Mike Cash.
Followed by the response by Cllr Adrian Myers.
Dear Cllr Adrian Myers,
Closure or reduced hours working at station ticket offices by Abellio Greater Anglia
You will have seen in the news our concerns over proposals put forward by Dutch/Japanese privateer Abellio to close ticket offices and cut staff in a bid to further boost its profits. In the latest accounts to the end of 2015 Abellio Greater Anglia’s retained profit was over £26 million.
These proposed cuts to the Greater Anglia service fly in the face of the fact that there is still a clear need for staffed ticket offices at stations. Indeed, all the research shows that many passengers prefer to buy from the ticket office rather than from a ticket machine. Replacing staffed ticket offices with machines will undoubtedly limit the quality, safety and range of services available to passengers.
Transport Focus (the independent passenger watchdog) confirmed this view when it objected to Abellio’s proposals on six grounds covering the quality of data supplied, the adequacy of ticket machines, personal security, information provision by staff to passengers, accessibility and loss of existing facilities due to de-staffing. Full details of their objections can be found here:
We have asked Abellio for a meaningful response to our concerns and full copies of all their plans on this situation, but thus far they have not been forthcoming.
Although they have since denied it they have previously told RMT’s Regional Organiser that by the end of the franchise in 2025/6 there will only be seven ticket offices left in total. The regulations governing such closures known as Schedule 17 are absolutely clear that an operator can make major changes to ticket office opening hours if: “the change would represent an improvement on current arrangements in terms of quality of service and/or cost effectiveness and members of the public would continue to enjoy wide spread and easy access to the purchase of rail products, notwithstanding the change”. How anyone can believe that getting rid of staff at nearly all stations will achieve such an aim, is beyond anyone’s comprehension.
We are also seeking urgent clarification and assurances from Abellio that Conductor’s will remain working on trains as at present. We believe it is essential that the safety critical role they perform is retained along with their responsibilities for train dispatch.
I hope you will therefore join with me in agreeing any proposals to close ticket offices or cut on train staff are simply unacceptable at a time of rising fares and rail passenger numbers and there is no genuine economic case to be made. This is really about cutting costs and sweating the assets to make even bigger profits for shareholders.
Please let Abellio know how you feel by contacting Andrew Goodman, Customer Services Director, Greater Anglia, 11 Floor, One Stratford Place, Montfitchet Road, London, E20 1EJ.
Also do not hesitate to get in touch if you need any further information.
Thanking you in anticipation
RMT General Secretary
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