Transport Focus and London TravelWatch reject Govia Thameslink’s ticket office plans for stations including Royston

PUBLISHED: 17:04 21 April 2016

David Sidebottom, passenger director at Transport Focus.

David Sidebottom, passenger director at Transport Focus.

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Plans to reorganise staff and ticket office opening hours at stations including Royston have been roundly rejected by two transport user watchdogs – but the operator is sticking by the proposals.

Transport Focus and London TravelWatch oppose the plans put forward by Govia Thameslink – which runs the Great Northern service – to have the ticket office open at peak hours only, with ‘station hosts’ on the concourse at other times.

Both groups cite thousands of written objections from members of the public.

David Sidebottom, passenger director at Transport Focus, said: “Our research shows passengers place a high value on the availability of staffed ticket offices, and due to a number of concerns we have decided to oppose Govia’s proposals.”

Areas of concern include the reliability of ticket machines, queue times, how the station hosts would operate – particularly at larger stations – and how cash transactions would work.

The final decision is the Department for Transport’s. Great Northern says that the station hosts would provide all ticket office services and that the plans will mean the stations are staffed for longer.

Great Northern’s Roger Perkins said: “We are reviewing this and discussing with London TravelWatch and Transport Focus the issues they have raised, to identify the extent of the concerns together with the actions we need to take to address them.

“We see our proposals as significantly improving the service we offer, providing over 2,600 extra hours of staffing assistance a week for those buying tickets, out on the concourse where the passengers want them.”

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