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Chamber writes to Rail Minister urging rethink over ticket office closures in Humber as business community voices concerns

The Hull & Humber Chamber of Commerce has written to Rail Minister Huw Merriman expressing the business community’s concerns over Government plans to close rail ticket offices in the Humber.

Chamber Chief Executive, Dr Ian Kelly, said in the letter:

“In the limited time for consultation you have given us to feedback and consult our own members, the business community across the Humber economic sub-region is deeply concerned at what appears to be a thinly-veiled plan to save money rather than a sensibly timetabled review of rail customer services across our area.

“We appreciate all the difficulties in the rail industry at the moment and the considerable frustrations with the quality of services from operators such as Trans-Pennine Express and to a certain degree, Northern Rail. These issues have been discussed with several of your predecessors at considerable length.

“However, these ticket office closure proposals appear to be very badly thought through, discriminatory towards older people and variously disabled people who currently use these services, especially as there is no guarantee that any or all of the locations in the Humber planned for closure will have staff available on rail platforms across the times when ticket offices were previously open.

“For example, according to local newspaper reports, the ticket office in Hull’s Paragon Station currently provides for one ticket sold every 1.6 minutes. Our business rail users in Grimsby, Cleethorpes and Scunthorpe have also indicated valuable service from their ticket offices.

“We would therefore strongly urge you and the Secretary of State to review this decision to consult in this way, which appears to have little to do with public service/transport interest to business travellers and everything to do with cost-cutting objectives in your department.”

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