Proposed closure of Narborough ticket office

Following on from last month’s announcement by East Midlands Railway (EMR) that tickets will now be sold on-line rather than at ticket offices, Friends Of Narborough Station (FONS) have issued the following response.

It is pleasing that there seems to be widespread opposition to the closures, so we at FONS hope that influencers will listen to disabled groups, trade unions, the travelling public and others, before steam rolling the proposal through without considering all of its implications.

The proposal is for the Narborough Ticket Office to close, but someone will come along once per week – to do what? Will this be someone from EMR, or a Mobile Operations Manager from Network Rail. We see this as a totally ridiculous compromise, a situation which will have limited effect and would eventually completely close the Ticket Office by stealth. We thought the Rail Delivery Group and EMR were better than this.

If closure at Narborough goes ahead, it will have huge consequences for those who cannot get online to buy a rail ticket, because they do not have, or cannot use, a computer or smart ‘phone. It effectively discriminates against them, by removing their access to rail travel, or their ability to get better priced ticket deals. Please remember that most elderly people in this country were brought up in the days of Fountain Pens and Blotting Paper; has this even been considered?

Just because mainly younger and middle aged people are “digital”, this still leaves swathes of people who are not. Older people, people with disabilities and those on the margins who cannot afford an i-phone or pay for full price rail tickets, will be disenfranchised from accessing and using the railways. This is draconian and bad for the railways’ business.

The very tight timescale for public consultation (which has now closed), particularly at this time of the year, leads one to be suspicious of the RDG’s and indeed the Government’s intentions as far as this proposal is concerned.

Just to confirm and conclude, FONS strongly opposes the proposals for Narborough as they currently stand.