London Midland to close ticket offices
At Tame Bridge Parkway railway station, I discovered that the rumour to close several ticket offices around the Midlands was no longer fiction. Over the loud speaker, it was also announced that due to a lack of drivers willing to work overtime on Sundays, some services will be suspended. In today’s tough climate, why would anyone in a full-time job decline such an incentive? I decided to investigate what was going on in the world of disrupted rail travel…
Dave Hart works at the ticket office and he cleared up the situation regarding office closures:
Basically, London Midland have dropped the double-time rate. That’s the reason why drivers won’t work on a Sunday, as they can’t see how it will benefit them. By the time they’ve driven to work and taken out other expenses, it just isn’t worth it. Back to your question, they’ve announced closure of this ticket office [Tamebridge Parkway] and want to close Bescot Stadium, Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, Duddeston, Witton and a few others. If you are lucky enough to escape closure, then hours will be cut instead. I’ve also overheard talks of replacing ticket offices with machines too.
Just as an elderly lady signed the petition against closure, I asked her views on the matter:
It’s appalling… my daughter relies on the train to get to work every weekend. A machine isn’t going to answer some people’s questions, is it? It’s a silly idea.
As I rang London Midland the organisation confirmed passengers face disruption on Sundays due to a dispute with Aslef, the train drivers’ union, over extra working hours, meaning they will run a restricted timetable until further notice. But has London Midland really taken into account the value of human interaction and real person assistance?