Saddleworth train ticket office closure ‘exclusionary’, says MP

PLANS to close the ticket office at Saddleworth’s only train station are an example of an ‘exclusionary policy’, the area’s MP believes.

Greenfield has been included on a list of steps where in-person service will be replaced by a vending under the Rail Delivery Group’s proposal.

Vending machines and online purchases will be the way to buy tickets as 45 Northern-operated facilities and 16 by Avanti West Coast, including Manchester Piccadilly, have been earmarked.

Greenfield rail station ticket office

Now Debbie Abrahams MP has spelled out her concerns over the plan in a letter to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

She wrote: “I am extremely worried about the impact that these plans will have on both elderly and disabled constituents, and the tens of thousands across the country.

“The face-to-face support that staff at ticket offices offer is paramount for both disabled and older people to use our train system.

Signing the petition

“For many, the offices also function as a place to seek assistance. And while technology can certainly a play a role, it is hard not to feel that this move is made to Increase ‘efficiency’ without a regard for their impacts on disabled and older people, for example, both older and disabled people are more likely to experience digital exclusion.

“This is exactly the sort of exclusionary policy-making that must be stopped.”

RMT union members have held protests, which saw leaflets snapped up by those who will be affected by the plan.

And leading official Conor Price said: “The community’s opposed to the closure. It protects accessibility for people with things like mobility needs or visual impairments.

“It would also increase anti-social behaviour. There’s already quite a lot of that on this line anyway. If you remove the staff, it’s only going to make it worse.

“People want a human face on the railway, they don’t want to be travelling about on a network like the wild west, where there’s no-one there.

“People in the booking office are always very helpful. They help people get the cheapest ticket available as very often they’re confused.

“And the majority of tickets sold at stations are sold through booking offices, not through vending machines, which is contrary to what bosses will have you believe.

Greenfield ticket is earmarked for closure

“If the vending machine breaks, there would be no-one there to help but you may still get the penalty fare of £100 through no fault of your own. We should be encouraging people to travel by train.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has joined the thousands of people who have signed petitions calling for ticket offices to be kept open.

He told Transport Secretary <ark Harper it is “wholly inadequate” and called for an immediate suspension to operator Northern’s process – or he will consider legal action.

In a letter, he said: “In Greater Manchester alone, 58 stations face the closure of their ticket office, often coupled with dramatic reductions in the times staff will be on hand to assist passengers.

“Given the disproportionate levels of disruption and poor services that rail customers in the north continue to suffer, a highly visible and reassuring staff presence has never been more important.

“I am calling for Northern’s consultation process to be suspended with immediate effect.

“Such is the seriousness of this issue, if you are unable to accede to this request, I will have no option but to consider what legal remedies are available.”

8 Replies to “Saddleworth train ticket office closure ‘exclusionary’, says MP”

  1. More empty posturing being presented as, “concern.”

    But great free publicity for our sitting MP.

    The next stop down the line from Greenfield is Marston, which doesn’t have either a ticket office or a ticket machine and as far as I’m aware this hasn’t caused any real problems for anyone ?

  2. It’s Marsden and if you were a regular commuter on that line you’d find residents from there who use Greenfield station.

    But any excuse to have a pop at the Labour MP and to show no concern at the closure of something worthwhile – like your many comments re. the closure of the Coli.

    It’ll be a real shame if this closes Raquelle and the other attendants are always a pleasure to deal with in a morning

    1. I stand corrected, it is Marsden you’re quite right.

      Other than that I stand by my comment above.

      My opinion of Debbie Abraham MP incidentally is based entirely my own and other people’s, (people that I know personally,) experiences of trying to get help or support from and her which have, generally speaking almost always been anything but positive.

      Few people in East Oldham could care less whether the station at Greenfield is manned or not frankly.

        1. You are of course perfectly entitled to your own opinion as am I.

          The fact of the matter is this however, that I walked across the moors to Marsden, (where there is no ticket office or ticket machine,) on a Sunday the week before last and then traveled back to Greenfield on the train without the slightest difficult or inconvenience.

          Once again this is my MP, with whom I am often not much impressed making huge a song and dance about absolutely nothing at all.

          1. Debbie Abrahams is speaking on behalf of the elderly and vulnerable who need assistance when travelling. She’s campaigned a long time to make rail travel more accessible, which is well documented – see your comments when she went to Downing Street about it.

            And people will be losing their jobs which is something to make a “song and dance about”.

            But let’s not let facts get in the way of your opinion.

  3. Is there an ‘on-line’ petition to sign, rather than having to go to the Station?

    Given issues with the service, I haven’t used the trains as regularly as before. Hopefully when the situation is resolved, then the amount of passengers will increase.

    I have tried to use the ticket Machine and found that it has malfunctioned, which causes stress. It is slow and if a lot of passengers arrive at the same time, then there is anxiety causing pressure.

    A manned station is far preferable, it provides useful employment, which again is of benefit to the community.

    I am sure that JPC-W would rather have people in employment rather than on State Benefits?

  4. This is complete and utter nonsense and I’ve seldom read such a complete load of rubbish.

    As for Abrahams, “speaking on behalf of the elderly and the vulnerable,” (that one made me laugh; she’d be better advise to speak, “to,” the elderly and vulnerable people such as me,) my own experiences of trying to get help from her for my wife who is disabled have left me with song impression that she couldn’t actually care less, but that doesn’t play well with image she like to promote hence all this empty posturing.

    As for being, “the old and the vulnerable,” I’m 66 and currently recovering from a hernia operation so exactly how old and vulnerable does someone have to be ?

    Common sense seems to have left the building.

    .

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