The Government has announced a U-turn over plans to close the vast majority of railway station ticket offices in England – and a York MP has welcomed the decision.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said train operators have been asked to withdraw the proposals as they “do not meet the high thresholds set by ministers”.
The plans were brought forward by train operators in July with support from the Government, which has put pressure on the sector to cut costs.
In September, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak suggested closing ticket offices was “the right thing for the British public and British taxpayers” as “only one in 10 tickets are sold currently in ticket offices”.
No figure has been published showing how much money would have been saved with the proposals.
While York Station’s ticket office was set to stay, those at Selby, Malton and Northallerton were among those earmarked for closure. A protest was held at York Station in July against the proposals.
This afternoon, Labour’s MP for York Central Rachael Maskell said that 99% of the 750,000 responses to a public consultation objected to the closures.
She said: “Having supported passengers, trade unions and disabled people’s rights campaigners in York to keep stations open across the network and having responded to the consultation on behalf of my constituents in York and those working in the ticket office, I am delighted that we have been able to overturn the Government’s plan to close and downgrade over 1,000 ticket offices.
“This U-turn is a real endorsement of the outstanding services that ticket office staff provide and it shows that passengers and the wider public can make a difference when they are prepared to fight for a worthy cause.
“I am delighted that common sense has prevailed over the Government’s petty plans. People across the country will now be able to get a face to face service and get the help they need to undertake their journeys across the rail network.”