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  • Railfuture AGM: July 15, 2023
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Author Topic: Ticket Office closures - Penny wise, Pound foolish? = Railfuture press release  (Read 5657 times)
grahame
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« Reply #30 on: July 09, 2023, 21:29:10 »

The Railfuture AGM (Annual General Meeting) is next Saturday - 15th July 2023.  There is no motion on the agenda relating to ticket offices, as the agenda was set before the matter arose.   I am advised

Quote
In view of said 'huge topic' and flowing from yesterday's national Passenger Group meeting in Leeds, attended by Policy Director Ian Brown and Comms Director Neil Middleton who is our de facto national lead on ticketing and fares, there will almost certainly be a statement probably from the national Chair on how Railfuture will be responding to the current TF / LTW consultations, and how members can inform and contribute to that response during the following 10 days.

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« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2023, 18:55:41 »

 hadn't sussed the Sunday Times as signed up members of the Mick Lynch fan club. But yesterday there was a short leader headed "closing train ticket offices will cost more than it saves". That's misleading, as the words don't really mention costs at all - just a hint that this will put off so many passengers that revenue will suffer.

And I'll bet that doesn't put the ST off reverting in future to criticising the railways' high costs and huge subsidies due to outdated working practices, etc etc.

There was also a report (not linked*, but perhaps the topics are related) that the promised GBR (Great British Railways) booking service/app has not got far: RDG(resolve) have not even finished the tender documents for it (which they had planned to do by last November).

* except for two paragraphs from an otherwise absent article on the ticket office closure, mysteriously tacked on at the end!
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« Reply #32 on: July 10, 2023, 21:44:45 »

hadn't sussed the Sunday Times as signed up members of the Mick Lynch fan club. But yesterday there was a short leader headed "closing train ticket offices will cost more than it saves". That's misleading, as the words don't really mention costs at all - just a hint that this will put off so many passengers that revenue will suffer.

And I'll bet that doesn't put the ST off reverting in future to criticising the railways' high costs and huge subsidies due to outdated working practices, etc etc.

I suspect the reason they have given Mick Lynch page space may be there are quite a number of Conservative MP (Member of Parliament)'s who are concerned that the ticket office closures in 2024 could be badly timed for the run up to the next General Election, as an example the MP for Maidenhead in her new constituency boundary will see 3 ticket office close and a further 2 or 3 just over the boarder close.


There was also a report (not linked*, but perhaps the topics are related) that the promised GBR (Great British Railways) booking service/app has not got far: RDG(resolve) have not even finished the tender documents for it (which they had planned to do by last November).

* except for two paragraphs from an otherwise absent article on the ticket office closure, mysteriously tacked on at the end!

There is always Trainline dot com, but they are a commercial operator and need to earn a crust some how and if there are not TOC (Train Operating Company) ticket sales then there will be no competition 
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« Reply #33 on: July 10, 2023, 22:19:08 »

There is always Trainline dot com, but they are a commercial operator and need to earn a crust some how and if there are not TOC (Train Operating Company) ticket sales then there will be no competition 

There was a mention in that article of a meeting (last year, or earlier) between the Treasury's head of rail policy and Trainline's head of UK (United Kingdom) relations, which was the subject of an FoI request (refused). No conclusion was drawn from that, so it was more innuendo than reporting.

But if those two posts are really full-time jobs (and they may just be hats), that's quite revealing!
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« Reply #34 on: July 11, 2023, 10:11:26 »

There was also a report (not linked*, but perhaps the topics are related) that the promised GBR (Great British Railways) booking service/app has not got far: RDG(resolve) have not even finished the tender documents for it (which they had planned to do by last November).

* except for two paragraphs from an otherwise absent article on the ticket office closure, mysteriously tacked on at the end!

There is always Trainline dot com, but they are a commercial operator and need to earn a crust some how and if there are not TOC (Train Operating Company) ticket sales then there will be no competition 
Would this GBR booking app replace the current NRE(resolve) one? And why?
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« Reply #35 on: July 11, 2023, 10:34:29 »

Has NRE(resolve) got one itself? I thought they just passed you to a TOC (Train Operating Company)?
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« Reply #36 on: July 11, 2023, 10:39:44 »

Would this GBR (Great British Railways) booking app replace the current NRE(resolve) one? And why?

NRE have an online journey planner - it doesn't do bookings; it passes you on to a TOC (Train Operating Company) for that.

This booking function wasn't in the Williams-Shapps (or vice versa) plan, and I can't remember where it emerged from. The article says it was wanted to save paying commission to, mainly, Trainline; that was the basis for its headline about the Treasury losing millions. But I would not trust their headline to be factual. 

The article also linked the app to ticket office closures, as in being "the first port of call for passengers looking for an alternative to ticket offices and machines". But it would make sense now, I think, to try to take that further. If the app could be, or at least form the basis of, a ticket machine for use in stations it would offer something for all these floating multi-skilled staff help people to use. That has the obvious attraction (for RDG(resolve)/DfT» (Department for Transport - about)/HMT) that people would get trained to use it on their own, so fewer staff would be needed in the future. Not that RDG need a rational reason to take years not getting round to doing something.
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« Reply #37 on: July 11, 2023, 12:50:24 »

Would this GBR (Great British Railways) booking app replace the current NRE(resolve) one? And why?

NRE have an online journey planner - it doesn't do bookings; it passes you on to a TOC (Train Operating Company) for that.

This booking function wasn't in the Williams-Shapps (or vice versa) plan, and I can't remember where it emerged from. The article says it was wanted to save paying commission to, mainly, Trainline; that was the basis for its headline about the Treasury losing millions. But I would not trust their headline to be factual. 

The article also linked the app to ticket office closures, as in being "the first port of call for passengers looking for an alternative to ticket offices and machines". But it would make sense now, I think, to try to take that further. If the app could be, or at least form the basis of, a ticket machine for use in stations it would offer something for all these floating multi-skilled staff help people to use. That has the obvious attraction (for RDG(resolve)/DfT» (Department for Transport - about)/HMT) that people would get trained to use it on their own, so fewer staff would be needed in the future. Not that RDG need a rational reason to take years not getting round to doing something.

An internal briefing that came from Andrew Haines a few months back there had been a very heated exchange between GBRTT and Trainline
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« Reply #38 on: July 11, 2023, 14:08:00 »

Would this GBR (Great British Railways) booking app replace the current NRE(resolve) one? And why?

NRE have an online journey planner - it doesn't do bookings; it passes you on to a TOC (Train Operating Company) for that.
My mistake, sorry. I was actually misinterpreting "booking app" to include the journey planner.
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« Reply #39 on: July 28, 2023, 11:49:36 »

New press release

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Ticket Office closure consultation – Extension = Yes; The Right approach = Still No

Railfuture welcomes the extension in the deadline to the Ticket Office consultation deadline to 1 September. We strongly encourage everyone to respond to the Transport Focus / London TravelWatch consultation (use London TravelWatch’s Map to work out who to respond to). We think it essential that respondents explain which of the services that a ticket office provides they use (and why).

We’ve now made our own national submission and that’s available here: https://www.railfuture.org.uk/display3418 (and all our material, including a two page summary and previous press releases on the topic is here: www.railfuture.org.uk/Ticket-Offices).

Neil Middleton, Railfuture Director who leads on fares and ticket’s commented “The process should have started with a proper look at why some intending travellers use Ticket Offices and then identified how Online, Ticket Vending machines and Contactless are to be improved.  Once that is done, then it’s time to debate ticket office hours – but even then, there are always going to be some for whom buying from a person will be the only option.

Free can of beans Stock Photo - FreeImages.com“We think the government forgets that buying a rail ticket isn’t like using the self-service lane at a supermarket to buy a can of baked beans.  Instead, the intending purchaser has to navigate their way through the 2,822 ticket types on National Rail, with 901 names and 665 restriction codes (note 1) to work out what they need to buy. So, it’s no wonder the ticket office remains a popular choice for some intending passengers.

“We think that the claim of only 1 in 10 tickets sold at a ticket office masks a critical fact – very low ticket office sales in Greater London (eg Peckham Rye: 1.1%) are reducing the national average significantly.  There are many stations outside London where ticket sales exceed 25% of all sales – eg Luton, where it is 30%.  And given that a significant percentage of travellers will be heading to London regularly and know what ticket to buy, this just shows how important the ticket office is”.

Nottingham station 25 July 2023 - No one using the Ticket Machines …. A queue in the Ticket OfficeGraham Collett, Railfuture’s Accessibility Champion went on to say “Buying tickets in-person from a staff member is so important for many with accessibility needs.  As part of our national response we had a member comment ‘I'm partially sighted + my brain damage makes it difficult to understand new things. I tried once to use the ticket machine. It had no disabled discount plus I couldn't use it so had to go to the ticket office’.  We think this needs to continue to be the case in the future.”

Neil went on to say “It’s not the bricks and mortar of a Ticket Office that matter – it’s the people inside them and the passenger help they can give, whether that’s selling a ticket or something else. If the Government wants those staff to be away from the Ticket Office, they should be investing now to improve mobile ticket issuing – some TOCs (Train Operating Company) Guards already have the facilities so it can be done – no TOC is an island and surely other TOC’s can avoid reinventing the wheel.”

 
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« Reply #40 on: October 07, 2023, 17:14:57 »

from Somerset County Gazette

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SOMERTON and Frome's LibDem MP (Member of Parliament) is calling on the Government to spend some of the tens of billions of pounds saved from the axing of the northern leg of HS2 (The next High Speed line(s)) to help save ticket offices under threat of closure.

Sarah Dyke opposes the potential closure of ticket offices at local stations and has previously written to the Transport Secretary to express her view.

She says elderly and disabled rail users are especially reliant on ticket offices to ensure they get the support they need when catching a train.
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« Reply #41 on: October 07, 2023, 17:17:48 »

Oh dear - Capex & OPex - MPs (Member of Parliament) should all be forced to be educated on the difference every Parliament....
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« Reply #42 on: October 07, 2023, 17:49:18 »

Oh dear - Capex & OPex - MPs (Member of Parliament) should all be forced to be educated on the difference every Parliament....

So why is funding (they tell us) going from HS2 (The next High Speed line(s)) to BF2 (Bus Fare £2)?
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« Reply #43 on: October 08, 2023, 07:57:07 »

The funding being money, as yet unborrowed, to construct HS2 (The next High Speed line(s)), there isn't funding for anything else is there. This isn't the half crown that you'd find in some households, held back against the day there was a need to call the doctor.

(Speaking of doctors, Dr Beeching would take a look at HS2 in its current state of build and immediately flag the Lichfield to Crewe section as being 'Route for development).

Mark
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ChrisB
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« Reply #44 on: October 08, 2023, 20:51:11 »

Oh dear - Capex & OPex - MPs (Member of Parliament) should all be forced to be educated on the difference every Parliament....

So why is funding (they tell us) going from HS2 (The next High Speed line(s)) to BF2 (Bus Fare £2)?

It isn't. It's another lie.
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