Leicestershire County Council is adding its voice to the growing dissent around proposals currently being consulted on around closing ticket offices at some railway stations.
Councillor Ozzy O’Shea, cabinet member for highways and transport, has written a strongly worded letter to Transport Focus, the independent watchdog which wants to hear from passengers and other interested parties.
In the letter, he specifically refers to the proposals to close ticket offices in Melton Mowbray, Hinckley and Narborough, describing them as a ‘short-sighted’ move.
He said that at a time when the rail industry should be ‘doing all it can’ to encourage people to travel by rail these proposal do nothing to promote travel by rail as being safe for and inclusive of all customers.
Melton is a growing town with an increasing population, so train travel must be accessible, reasonable and simple as possible.
With Hinckley and Narborough, we’re supporting the case set out by Midlands Connect for significant improvements to the current, poor service offer between Leicester and Birmingham and we want the re-instatement of direct services between Coventry and Leicester.
We should be enhancing facilities in anticipation of greater passenger numbers – not reducing them.
Person:Councillor Ozzy O’Shea, cabinet member for highways and transport
The proposals announced indicate that Loughborough and Market Harborough, while the ticket offices are to close, the stations will be staffed between 6am and 11pm. Mr O’Shea said he had ‘no principle issues’ with the proposals, providing that the staff are available and trained as stated in the consultations.
He added: “I feel passionate about our commitment as a public transport authority to support the rail network and to deliver on carbon and congestion reduction strategies. We need an integrated travel experience which boosts business and leisure in the region and the train should be the travel of choice.”
The consultation runs until 26 July.