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Train plan just isn't the ticket

(September 07, 2011)

NEWS that Warminster station's ticket office is one of those recommended for closure in the McNulty report needs to set alarm bells ringing.

Train operating companies such as First Great Western purbeckneed little encouragement when it comes to cost cutting and this will give them the green light.

We have already heard from South West Trains about how ticket buying has changed since the introduction of machines and on-line purchase, with only a third now bought at offices.

''But what about when things go wrong or when people, particularly the elderly, need advice?'' said Steve Dancey who catches the 7.12am train out of town most mornings.

''I can think of three occasions in the past year when I would have been significantly inconvenienced without ticket staff being on hand. They also know the best deal. Ask on the train and you often end up being quoted a higher fare and you have to argue your case.

''Not everyone wants to do that. If it closes does that also mean the end of the waiting facilities and toilets? - we pay enough to travel so we deserve some services.

''I hope our elected councillors fight this but I don't expect much action unfortunately. It most likely will happen and be yet another thing ripped out of the town.''

The TOCs are promising a 'rigorous consultation exercise' before changes are made - but with them money talk. These days, in the nasty little world created by Margaret Thatcher,  they have 'customers' rather than passengers.

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