Ticket offices at Great Northern stations facing axe

Proposals to close ticket offices at Alexandra Palace, Enfield Chase and Palmers Green, Hornsey and Winchmore Hill stations have been announced. A public consultation will be held on the proposals which would see station staff moved from ticket offices to the station forecourt.  However, there are concerns that the proposals could ultimately result in cuts to station staff and less help available to vulnerable and disabled passengers. Train operators needed to make sure they are really listening to what local people want before any ticket offices are closed. 

A public consultation is to be launched concerning proposals to close national rail ticket offices at approximately 80 stations, including ticket offices at Alexandra Palace, Enfield Chase and Palmers Green, Hornsey and Winchmore Hill stations in Enfield and Haringey. Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), who is responsible for running Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink services, said the closures would see staff moved from behind ticket office windows onto the concourse as “Station Hosts”. Under the plans, staff would be issued with new handheld devices to allow them to sell the “most popular” tickets on the station concourse.

GTR said that no ticket offices would be closed immediately, but that a public consultation will take place setting out the proposals. I have written to GTR requesting a meeting to raise my concerns about the proposals and to ask for further details about the consultation process.

Station staff play a hugely important part in ensuring our rail services are accessible to all passengers. These ticket office closures could have wider consequences, and that’s very concerning. What we don’t want to see is an unwelcome drop in the number of station staff available to help passengers, particularly the elderly and disabled, who sometimes need that little bit of extra assistance. I seek assurances that a full range of tickets and railcards will be available at every station.

Local people should have the opportunity to have their views heard over the changes to their services. GTR need to ensure this is a well-advertised, thorough, and transparent public consultation and that they’re really listening to what local people want.