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Petition launched against ticket office closures at Essex rail stations

PUBLISHED: 11:06 14 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:38 14 March 2017

Great Bentley Rail Station. Photo: ARCHANT

Great Bentley Rail Station. Photo: ARCHANT

A petition has been launched against proposed ticket office closures at rural Tendring railway stations.

Alresford railway station. Photo: ARCHANTAlresford railway station. Photo: ARCHANT

Greater Anglia is looking to shut the facilities at quieter stations replacing them with automatic machines.

Walton, Thorpe-le-Soken, Alresford, Great Bentley, Dovercourt and Harwich International are affected.

All stations are served by trains with on-board conductors who can also sell tickets to customers, while procedures will be in place to assist mobility impaired passengers. Harwich International would also be staffed at ferry arrival times.

Now ONTRACK, a rail users’ group for Tendring, has launched a petition against the plans with the backing of some local councillors.

The group says the change would seriously affect customers, especially those who are not technically-minded “who will have great difficulty in understanding the new and untried technology planned for these sites”, adding the confusion “will cause animosity to staff and commuter alike”.

The group also “deplores” what it calls a “unilateral lack of consultation” and says profit is being put before passengers – driving more people to use congested roads instead of the railway.

John Smock, ONTRACK chairman, said: “Everyone is up in arms. This is an agenda to cut costs, are finances that bad?

“The fare system is too complicated, so people will end up paying more when using a machine.

“This is not common sense. What about people with poor eyesight, or arthritic fingers?

“Tendring in particular has a high proportion of elderly people. They are the granny traffic, people who travel to London to see families.

“This is also putting more barriers in the way for tourists to our area too.

“There will be no-one at the station. What if you fall ill and keel over?

“No discussion has been had about community-run stations or having people there to help passengers.

“The deadline is too short for a proper consultation.”

Have your say on the consultation before March 20 by emailing advice@transportfocus.org.uk or writing to Transport Focus, Freepost (RTEH-XAGE-BYKZ), PO Box 5994, Southend, SS1 9PZ.

To sign the petition visit www.ontrackrailusers.org.uk

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