With exactly a week left to respond to the consultation on proposed railway station ticket office closures , Green Party councillors are urging passengers to press Great Western Railway (GWR) to keep ticket offices open at Exeter Central and Exeter St David’s stations.
In a letter to Transport Focus , which is coordinating the consultation, Exeter’s six Green councillors describe the approach being taken by GWR and the other operators of full-scale closures as “misguided” and that the ticket office closure plans “will make using the railway less attractive to many and inaccessible to others.”
“Rail has a vital role both as a less polluting industry and in offering a clean alternative to private cars,” the letter says. “It follows that we would oppose any initiative which makes it more difficult for people to travel by train.”
The letter goes on to say that GWR’s alternative for passengers needing assistance, which would involve them seeking out redeployed staff somewhere on the station is ‘fanciful’ at Exeter’s two busiest stations. “The circulation area at Exeter St Davids on the public side of the gateline is small and easily congested, so particularly unsuited to complex conversations and for those who may require additional help because of disability and illness or lacking in confidence.”
Green Councillor Catherine Rees said:
“Exeter now has ten railway stations in total and boosting train travel into and around the city will have positive impacts on air quality, congestion and help to meet the city’s Net Zero target. If Exeter St David’s and Exeter Central lose their ticket offices it will mean there is not a single station in Exeter with a ticket office.
“The closure of ticket offices may put some off travelling by train or seriously inconvenience others, especially people who are elderly or have disabilities; those lacking access to the internet or find using ticket machines a challenge, or don’t want the hassle of navigating fares or routes and simply want face to face help."
Councillor Diana Moore, co-leader of the opposition group on Exeter City Council, added:
“Planned ticket office closures, which include not only Exeter St David's and Exeter Central but even London Paddington, are a backward step. We urge all rail passengers, whether they generally use ticket offices or not, to object to the closure of this important service which is of huge benefit to some of their fellow travellers.”
 Complete the consultation here: https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/ticket-office-consultation/