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Station ticket office set to close

From Emma S

Monday, 12 May 2014

Hebden Bridge train station ticket office is set to close, apparently - see Daily Telegraph news item

From Iain Templeton

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Telegraph report is actually dated September 2011. Many of the station ticket offices listed in the West Mids where I live have had their opening hours revised recently - but they have not been closed down; think there must have been a rethink since the report was published.

From Emma S

Tuesday, 3 June 2014


From Graham Barker

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

I don't think an 'oops' is needed, Emma. There's now a ticket machine on the station that doesn't accept passes or forward booking, except to pick up tickets bought online, and the ticket office seems to be shut for longer periods. Then there was an almost sinister day recently when the station was crawling with jobsworths checking tickets. That's too many signs suggesting we're being groomed for something.

From Paul Clarke

Thursday, 5 June 2014

As a daily rail user I think it is incredibly patronising to describe the young men learning their ticket collecting trade as 'jobsworths.'

I pay a huge amount for my yearly ticket so I'm glad these polite young men are there to challenge fare cheats.

It's hardly an infringement of my human rights to be asked politely to show my ticket which is after all a legal requirement.

As many people use that new fangled internet it is useful to be able to collect your tickets locally from the machine rather than at busy Leeds.

That said I would oppose the closure of the ticket office as it is very well used and they can help you find cheaper tickets. Aside from the fact our fantastic local station staff could lose their jobs or have to move.

From David Mack

Thursday, 12 June 2014

The Government has just issued a consultation document on the future of the Northern and Transpennine Express rail services. This can be found here.

Question TO3 in the consultation document is:

TO3: What are your views on allowing some reduction in the hours ticket offices are open and staffed if this is accompanied by the ability for passengers to have widespread access to ticket buying opportunities (e.g. through new and improved approaches such as smart ticketing, increased advance purchase ticketing or via mobile phones), adequate measures to ensure vulnerable passengers are not disadvantaged and more effective customer service by both station and on-train staff? Do you have any evidence to support your views?

From Jack Hughes

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

According to Northern Rail's Twitter feed, the ticket office is now 'closed until further notice', with no explanation given.

From Andy G

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

I don't do Twitter or Facebook and I don't know what Northern Rail are on about, but I can assure everyone that the ticket office was open as usual this morning and that the excellent staff have no knowledge of any plans to close it or reduce the opening hours.

From Jack Hughes

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

See Northern Rail Twitter post

Maybe they're just having a laugh at us Hebdenites then? I didn't make this up, I merely passed on the information I received. Don't shoot the messenger.

From Kez Armitage

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Many thanks to David Mack for posting the link to the consultation paper.
It's the usual aspirational document, wanting improved services, better customer care, helping the local economy etc etc. Great objectives in their own right, but throughout the report there are pointers suggesting that these improvements would come at a cost.

Northern, we're told, has the highest subsidy of any rail franchise (53p per passenger mile). It's pretty clear that reducing this figure is the primary objective of this document.

So what efficiencies can be made? Well one suggestion is driver only operation. Drivers will be responsible for opening and closing doors doors and despatching trains, leaving guards to concentrate on selling tickets and revenue collection measures, with no safety responsibilities. (In other word they will no longer 'guard' the train and become, in the words of one trades unionist, no more than 'glorified Kit Kat sellers')

Another is to reduce ticket office opening hours, and increasingly rely on automatic and online ticketing methods. The trouble of course is that once office opening hours are restricted, revenue will fall and questions could well be asked as to whether we actually need a ticket office in the first place.

Things don't look too good on the rolling stock side either. Despite the document's wish that passengers shouldn't have to stand, the likelihood of new trains seems remote. In a section entitled "Trade Offs", it says that, whilst it would like to see new rolling stock, this could be at the expense of existing service levels, and could well mean that improved services wouldn't be offered, even where demand was increasing. Despite accessibility issues, it looks as though we're lumbered with our ageing bouncy Pacer units, possibly until 2020.

And of course the final kick in the teeth is the observation that some fares in our area are significantly below the national average, with the inference that fares will need to rise substantially.
It does not make for positive reading.

From Christopher Reason

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

I journey regularly between Hebden Bridge and Saltaire (where there is no ticket office but a machine). I've been making this trip for three years now and I would guess that the ticket machine is working maybe one journey in five. Sometimes a guard comes and collects fares and issues tickets on the train but just as often they don't. And with no one examining tickets at Forster Square, you often don't get a chance to pay for a ticket. The loss in revenue must be immense.

Add to that the cost of the (sadly) inevitable vandalism that will befall the station with no staff cover and this becomes economic madness. But then the entire economy is run by the economically mad, so is it any wonder?

From Susan Quick

Saturday, 26 July 2014

As we have just had the wonderful news that the station is to have lifts installed, thus making the station accessible to disabled and elderly people and to parents with prams, I would hope that the ticket office hours would be extended not closed.

My question is will access to the station be improved? At the moment if you walk from town, either you have to negotiate a pavement which disappears on the station side, or do your best to cross a busy junction with the Keighly Road. Councillor Janet Battye informed me that when I asked for traffic lights at that junction that there were already too many lights on that stretch of road. The alternative is to use the path across the park, however the access to the station is very steep for wheelchair users or parents pushing prams or pushchairs. Thus the current situation is that anyone with reduced mobility needs to drive to the station.

I trust that station access will be addressed when plans are drawn up for the lifts, even though road and rail come under the responsibility of different agencies. Let's work together for what should truly add to the attraction of Hebden Bridge for tourists; as well as benefiting residents.

From Andy G

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Like Susan and, I suspect, many other people, I am very pleased that funding has been authorised for new lifts at Hebden Bridge station. However, my experience of other stations is that the lifts can only be used when the station is staffed - this being for safety reasons in case anyone becomes stuck in one of the lifts. Therefore I agree with Susan that the staffing hours for the ticket office should be increased and not reduced.