The government has decided to reverse the rail industry’s plans to close ticket offices, stating that they did not meet the “stringent criteria for serving passengers effectively.”

Earlier this summer, the Rail Delivery Group announced its intention to close nearly all 1,007 in-person ticket facilities in England in a cost-cutting measure following a significant decline in passenger numbers due to the post-COVID situation. Despite objections raised by unions and charitable organisations, which expressed concerns about the impact on vulnerable passengers, these proposals had previously garnered support from government ministers.

However, Transport Secretary Mark Harper, in a statement, confirmed that he has requested train operators to “retract their proposals” following a public consultation. He emphasised that the government had consistently communicated to the rail industry that any resulting proposals needed to meet a high standard for serving passengers.

Mark Harper stated, “Throughout this process, we have actively engaged with accessibility groups and carefully considered the input from passengers and fellow parliamentarians. The proposals generated through this consultation process did not meet the rigorous standards set by the government. Therefore, we have asked train operators to withdraw their proposals.”

He further added, “Our efforts to reform the railway system will persist, including the expansion of contactless Pay As You Go ticketing, enhancing station accessibility through our Access for All initiative, and allocating £350 million through our Network North plan to enhance accessibility at nearly 100 stations.”

The U turn follows months of campaigning as calls for people over profit became louder and louder.

And one of the hardest hit groups would have been the disabled:

People power does work as long as one does not blink.

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