Hours to be cut at station ticket office

PUBLISHED: 09:57 08 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:57 11 May 2010

DAVID PIGGOTT: Makes tea for regular customers, and calls them at home if trains are delayed

DAVID PIGGOTT: Makes tea for regular customers, and calls them at home if trains are delayed

A VILLAGE station is to have its ticket office hours cut. And the move could see a popular member of staff sent to different stations. David Piggott, who has been working at Meldreth Station for 10 years, could become a roving member of staff when the s

A VILLAGE station is to have its ticket office hours cut.

And the move could see a popular member of staff sent to different stations.

David Piggott, who has been working at Meldreth Station for 10 years, could become a "roving" member of staff when the station's opening hours are reduced later this month.

He said: "I don't really know what's going to happen to me yet, I'm waiting to hear from head office about what's going on."

Cllr Susan van der Ven, who represents Meldreth on South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: "The opening hours of the ticket office are going to be cut by a couple of hours a day during the week, and also on Saturdays, which is their busiest day.

"It's frustrating because First Capital Connect has decided to make these changes without giving us much warning.

"When they introduced car parking charges it was the same, and it looks a bit cynical on their part."

Mr Piggott is a popular figure with commuters who use Meldreth station, as he provides his regular customers with cups of tea in the mornings, and has been known to call travellers at home if their trains are delayed.

His commitment to customer service was recognised at the 2007 Royston Business Awards, where he picked up the prize for Outstanding Customer Service.

A spokesman for train operator First Capital Conncet said: "This is the first change to ticket office hours on the route for eight years, and follows a comprehensive review of ticket sales.

"Evidence now shows that increasing numbers of our customers prefer to use ticket machines, which can typically dispense 90 per cent of all ticket types, usually within 60 seconds.

"The rail industry, and retail in general, has changed drastically in this time. There are now many more options for the purchase of tickets, including quick ticket machines and the ability to purchase your tickets online and have them delivered."

The spokesman added that the ticket office at Meldreth would "remain open at the peak times of ticket purchasing.

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