Wednesday, April 22, 2015

News: Cuts at Rotherham Station

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Rotherham may have a modern £8.5m train station but ticket office hours are being cut and there is still no ticket machine.

Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham, has written to the Department for Transport and Northern Rail to oppose the recently announced changes that mean that the ticket office at Rotherham Central will be closing for an extra five hours and 45 minutes over a week, including almost three hours on a Sunday.

With no ticket machine outside of the office, it means passengers cannot buy tickets when the office is closed in addition to not being able to order cheaper tickets in advance to print out on the day of travel at Rotherham.

The Northern and TransPennine Express franchises provide many rail services across the North of England, including all services into Rotherham. The process of procuring new operators is now underway, with both new franchises due to commence in February 2016.

Publishing tender documents for bidders earlier this year, the Government has made pre-election promises that new franchise holders must replace outdated Pacer trains, introduce a brand new fleet of modern trains, add over 200 new train services every day across both franchises and provide over one-third more capacity across both franchises.

The RMT Union has warned that the new franchises will allow Driver Only Operation of trains, thereby threatening the jobs of conductors, and the loss of hundreds of station and ticket office staff. Both will have detrimental consequences for passengers, safety and service.

Champion believes that the cuts mean that Rotherham station has already been impacted more than any other in South Yorkshire. She questioned this decision and also the decision not to consult South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive about the move; despite the SYPTE being the organisation responsible for public transport in Rotherham.

Sarah said: "I'm extremely disappointed that this choice has been made and I hope that a solution can be found quickly. I understand difficult decisions are needed when it comes to public transport services but for me these cuts to Rotherham Central Station ticket office opening hours are a step too far.

"My biggest concern is the impact it will have on passengers, particularly the elderly and most vulnerable. A number have spoken to me about their safety concerns when using public transport and a staff presence provides them with reassurances. People deserve to feel safe when travelling and I don’t think this has been taken into serious consideration.

"I've now written to both the Department for Transport and Northern Rail in a bid to try and find a solution and reverse these changes. The fact they didn't consult the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive before these new times were implemented is a major worry. I believe the decision to cut almost six hours of the ticket office opening times will have a detrimental impact on Rotherham and the people who use the station."

Images: SYPTE

1 comments:

Anonymous,  April 26, 2015 at 4:55 PM  

It's Railway Station and NOT "train station". "Train station" is an American expression, only used by babies in the UK!

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