Steve Double, the Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay, has welcomed the decision to save the ticket office at St Austell Station from closure.
GWR announced in July that they were looking at potentially closing a number of ticket offices at railway stations around the country as part of a national exercise and launched a consultation.
Under these proposals St Austell Station would have lost its ticket office within a year.
GWR said it was considering the proposed closures as on average less than 15% of tickets are purchased from ticket offices at their stations. However, their own figures showed that in St Austell the numbers of people buying tickets from the ticket offices are more than double that.
Since the announcement of the consultation, Steve has fought on behalf of local people to save the ticket office at St Austell from being closed as part of plans to shut the majority of offices in England over the next three years.
Steve ran a survey for local residents on the impact these proposals would have on St Austell Station and shared the results, along with various comments received, with the Rail Delivery Group, GWR and the Minister responsible for railways.
Steve also took the opportunity to raise residents’ concerns directly with the Rail Minister, Huw Merriman, when he visited Par Station in August. The Minister confirmed that all concerns would be considered before a decision was made.
Welcoming the news that no ticket office will be closed, Steve said:
“This is fantastic news for St Austell. I am pleased that the government has listened to residents’ concerns, which I shared, and will not be closing the ticket office.
‘This would have been devastating for staff as well as travellers, particularly those who are elderly, vulnerable or disabled, therefore I am pleased to see that the Secretary of State for Transport has made the right decision and that the town gets to keep its ticket office.’
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said:
“The consultation on ticket offices has now ended, with the Government making clear to the rail industry throughout the process that any resulting proposals must meet a high threshold of serving passengers.
“We have engaged with accessibility groups throughout this process and listened carefully to passengers as well as my colleagues in Parliament. The proposals that have resulted from this process do not meet the high thresholds set by Ministers, and so the Government has asked train operators to withdraw their proposals.
“We will continue our work to reform our railways with the expansion of contactless Pay As You Go ticketing, making stations more accessible through our Access for All programme and £350 million funding through our Network North plan to improve accessibility at up to 100 stations.”