Following the recent announcement of proposed closures of railway ticket offices across the country Bridgwater Labour Party are seeking urgent clarification from GWR regarding their intentions for the Bridgwater Railway Station ticket office. Cllr Tim Mander (Labour, Westover) who sits on the Bridgwater Town Council Transport Forum commented “I recently attended a site meeting at the Railway Station with two senior representatives of GWR together with Glen Burrows of the Bridgwater Rail Users Group. We made it clear that the current ticket office opening hours were inconsistent and insufficient and a presence on Sunday was required. The GWR representatives, whilst stating that increased opening was unlikely, they would be increasing their ‘one platform’ presence which would include timetable and ticketing advice. Regionally GWR have stated that they will not be closing ticket offices across their region but would be reducing opening tables. Any reduced opening times is not acceptable to Bridgwater Labour Party particularly in light of the Town’s rapid growth and the need to make sustainable transport more accessible to everyone”.
Public Transport for All
Cllr Irena Hubble (Fairfax West, Labour) said “Staff at ticket offices such as those working at Bridgwater station are undervalued. Their expertise and knowledge of the ticketing systems and routes on offer give passengers an excellent service and positively encourage use of the railways. However, it is not just this valuable service that would be lost by reducing the office hours but also the customer focus when disabled, autistic, blind passengers try to use the railways. For years we have been given to believe that travelling by rail is not a right but a privilege. It is public transport for all,and in the light of climate change it is vital we invest in this PUBLIC service. It is not about the fat cats and their shares. If you have ever used trains in mainland Europe you will know how far behind we are, especially so in the Southwest. Not only should we have a proper ticket office in Bridgwater but we should also have a lift so that disabled passengers traveling from London are not forced to go to Taunton and travel back to Bridgwater so that they do not have to negotiate the stairs, That is an outright scandal. Put the people at the heart of. the service and make it affordable.”
Union Opposes Closures
The RMT Union is opposing any closures which will worsen peoples travel options and reduce access to the best value tickets. They are calling on people to oppose the closures, write to their MP and respond to the consultation.