Over the summer, Birmingham Liberal Democrats joined other campaigners in a bid to reverse the decision to close almost all ticket offices in the West Midlands region.
The initial plans gave people just 3 weeks to respond to the consultation. Strong campaigning and public support successfully achieved an extension to the consultation until the end of August 2023.
West Midlands Railway initially proposed to close almost all ticket offices in the region, meaning that many staff would have lost jobs, and many more stations would be completely unstaffed.
Commenting on the Government’s U-turn, Group Leader Cllr Roger Harmer said “This is a win for campaigners. We were alarmed not just by the plans, but the severity of the closures, which would have had a serious and detrimental impact on passenger safety.”
“Many people, for all sorts of reasons, need help from a friendly face at a train station; Children taking a train to school for the first time, wheelchair users seeking support to alight the train, tourists trying to find a destination, people without bank accounts and people who do not have or are unable to use smartphones are among the people who rely on assistance at the stations.”
“What’s more, we should be encouraging people to travel by public transport for the good of the environment. We know that safety is one of the concerns that prevents people from travelling. A staff presence can help people to feel reassured.”