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Plans to reduce the opening at Hartford ticket office criticised
11:00am Friday 28th September 2012 in News
THE Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association (MCRUA) has criticised plans for reduced ticket office hours at Hartford station as a ‘cost cutting’ exercise that does not reflect passenger need.
MCRUA said the London Midland and Department for Transport’s (DfT) plans were ‘not good news, and it is difficult to see what - if any - passenger benefits are secured’.
Nationwide, 86 ticket office reductions are to be offset by the installation of ticket vending machines and additional platform shelters and signage.
The MCRUA said the as yet unspecified date for implementing the reductions are ‘unlikely to be before ticket vending machines are installed at Hartford and Winsford.’
In March, the MCRUA’s 650 members wrote to London Midland requesting booking hours at Hartford and Winsford to remain unchanged.
Harry Boardman, committee member for MCRUA said: “We did not accept their claim that it was not a cost cutting exercise. It was based upon DfT guidance only and not how the ticket offices are being used or taking into account the high standard of service currently being provided.”
He added: “At times, Hartford and Winsford are the only staffed stations in the area bounded by Knutsford, Runcorn, Chester and Crewe.
“Many passenger enquiries are made during the evening and on Saturdays and Sundays and many of them are for very complex journeys or multiple journeys which many people are not confident enough to do either on the telephone or the internet.
“The people employed by London Midland at both Hartford and Winsford stations all have great pride in providing excellent customer service which is appreciated by the passengers who use these stations.
“How can the replacing of a friendly face by machines ensure passengers continue to enjoy their journey experience? It doesn’t.”
In documents supporting the changes, released on September 17, DfT Transport Minister Norman Baker said: “Changes to the way passengers buy tickets at London Midland stations will improve facilities to reflect changing needs while making efficiency savings.”