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Proposal to close ticket offices in train stations across England could impact disabled people the hardest

25 July 2023

Train companies are proposing to close around 1,000 ticket offices across England over the next three years – almost all but the busiest. This will force passengers to find alternative ways to buy a ticket, such as online or via an automated station ticket machine and may also leave those who regularly rely on station staff for assistance struggling to find support.

How these closures might affect people with muscular dystrophy 

These closures could be problematic for many disabled people, including some people with muscular dystrophy for a number of reasons. Disabled people often buy their tickets over the counter as it can be difficult to access automated ticket machines which are typically too high up to reach or don’t have a full range of available accessibility features. In some cases, some discounted tickets that disabled people may be entitled to are also not available from ticket machines. 

Another worrying loss will be the assured presence of station staff at a set location to assist people in accessing train services – we know that people in wheelchairs in particular rely on staff assistance to make their journeys. 

A lack of staff at train stations will also threaten other important provisions such as accessible bathrooms, heated waiting rooms, even fully functioning lifts. 

Overall, the loss of station staff has the potential to lead to less accessible travel at a time when we know our community already face a difficult time when travelling.  

What are the rail companies proposing instead? 

Where staff are no longer present and you require assistance, rail companies are proposing you make your way to the nearest help point. They are also proposing that a ticket could be bought during your journey, at a ticket office on route, or at the destination. 

What we are doing  

There are two types of consultation taking place. Each train company is running their own consultation using different documents, proposals, language, and email addresses for what is one of the biggest changes in generations in the train service. These consultations have been extended until Friday 1 September. Along with a range of other organisations we have signed a letter of objection led by Transport for All, the disabled-led group striving to increase access to transport and street space across the UK.  

The other form of consultation is being run by the House of Commons Transport Select committee in parliament. We will be launching a survey to gather your feedback to help inform our submission to the committee. 

The government will make the final decision on what train station offices close. 

What you can do 

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