Foord welcomes u-turn on ticket office closures

31 Oct 2023
Richard Foord MP outside Honiton station

Liberal Democrat MP for Tiverton & Honiton Richard Foord has welcomed the news that railway ticket offices at Feniton, Honiton, Axminster and Tiverton Parkway will remain open.

The recent u-turn from the Government comes after weeks of speculation about their fate, after proposals to close all ticket offices - put forward by rail operating companies - were put to an extensive public consultation.

Despite huge backlash, Conservative Ministers initially defended the proposals. In a debate in Parliament, Rail Minister Huw Merriman stating that the proposals were aimed at getting "ticket office staff to come from behind the ticket office and interact with passengers, customers, on the platform".

In the wake of the announcement, Richard Foord raised the issue multiple times in Parliament and wrote to both South Western Railway and Great Western Railway about the impact closing ticket offices would have on local people. The MP has said that today's is a big win for all the community campaigners who have been vocal in opposing the plans.

Commenting, Richard Foord MP said:
“The scrapping of plans to close our local ticket offices is welcome news. We know how helpful they are to elderly and vulnerable passengers, and the huge benefit that ticket office staff offer rail users.

"The question is - why did it take the Government so long to act? The damage that these changes would have caused was visible from space. The public backlash showed a strength of feeling that makes it plain this decision should have been made ages ago.

"Ministers at the Department for Transport chose to sit on their haunches for months until we campaigners forced them go into reverse. So this is a big win for our corner of Devon and everyone who uses our railways."

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