COUNTY NEWS: Protest outside railway station over reduced ticket office hours

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Council representatives and trade union members teamed up outside a West Sussex railway station this morning to protest Southern Rail’s proposal to reduce the hours of many of its ticket offices.

Leaflets were handed out to commuters at Worthing Station to raise awareness that up to 28 railway stations’ ticket offices could be affected by reduced hours or shut down completely.

Chairman of Worthing West Labour Party, Jim Deen, said: “We’re drawing attention to the proposed closure of a number of ticket offices across stations along Southern Rail lines; particularly Worthing where there’s a proposal that there will be just ticket service during core rush hour times.”

Mr Deen said if anyone wants to make an enquiry, has a specialist request or suffers from a disability, they will not be able to ask for assistance during certain times of the day.

“Its also a safety thing, having people around particularly when it’s out of rush hour times – people will feel more vulnerable,” he added.

Southern Rail has allowed a 21 day window for train users to share their opinion of the proposed changes before March 13.

Leaflets were handed out, which included a form to fill out and send to passenger body Transport Focus in objection to the proposals.

The Railway Maritime Transport Union (RMT) council representative, Peter Taggart, said he has requested Southern Rail for statistics to show the customer footfall.

He said: “Anyone with any disability or using rail cards won’t be able to get there tickets.

“It’s not a good idea and it’s only going to be public opinion which will help keep them open.”

A representative of the Transport Salaried Staff Association (TSSA) worked as a ticket officer before his retirement four years ago.

He said: “I’m very annoyed for my former colleagues and for the public.

“They are reducing staff also.

“Staff that took the job on because it’s an inside job will have to spend it outside all day long in winter.”

Chairman of Worthing Trades Council, Dan Sartin, said: “We have seen the rail service absolutely ruined by privatisation and they now want to close down our ticket stations.

“People in Worthing are going to suffer because of this.”

Train users can raise their concerns to Transport Focus by emailing GTR_Consultation@transportfocus.org.uk before Sunday, March 13.

There is also a petition to oppose the proposed changes. To read the story, click here

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