Railway ticket office closures: Mayor of West Yorkshire calls for halt to 'fundamentally flawed' ticket office consultation
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The Mayor and West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee chair Coun Susan Hinchcliffe have written to Mark Harper after train companies revealed plans to close the vast majority of ticket offices across the North – including West Yorkshire.
Almost 85 per cent of the region’s ticket offices would close under the proposals, with only three of the 69 stations in West Yorkshire retaining ticket offices.
The joint letter raises serious concerns about the “fundamentally flawed” consultation – set to last just 21 days.
The start of the letter reads: “We write as Mayor of West Yorkshire and as Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee (and Leader of Bradford Council) to express our grave concerns at the consultation that has been launched into proposed radical cutbacks in the provision of station ticket offices and staffing across the North, and especially within West Yorkshire.
“We consider the position to be so serious that the consultation is fundamentally flawed and must be suspended immediately.
“The proposals are so extreme in their proposed scale and impact that they are plainly led purely by the desire to cut costs,” the letter adds.
The Mayor shared particular concern for the apparent lack of an assessment into social and equalities impacts, rendering the legality of the proposals “questionable”.
The Mayor and Cllr Hinchcliffe raised concerns about the “grave impacts” closures could have on women; the young; the elderly; Black, Asian and minoritised communities; the LGBT community; and other minority groups who are disproportionately likely to face personal safety issues.
The letter further reads: “As a result, the proposals potentially constitute the greatest retrograde step in modern times as regards the accessibility and social inclusiveness of our transport network, running counter to our national and West Yorkshire commitments to reduce crime and focus on the safety of women and girls.”
Members of the Transport Committee also voiced strong opposition to the plans at a meeting on Friday morning.