Watford’s Mayor and local Liberal Democrat councillors have launched a campaign to save the ticket office at Watford Junction, following reports that it is under threat.
Ticket offices provide important support and help to passengers, particularly elderly and vulnerable residents. Thousands and thousands of passengers use Watford Junction station every day and the ticket office is even more important if there is an interruption to services, such as during the recent heatwave.
However, the Conservative government has been closing ticket offices around the country, removing the vital service they provide to rail passengers. Documents recently uncovered by the Sunday Times show that in the Conservatives plan to close every ticket office in England in a bid to save rail companies £500 million.
Responding to these plans, Elected Mayor Peter Taylor said:
“We have already seen services cut and fares rise – now we are losing vital ticket offices. Residents and visitors who use Watford Junction station hugely value having staff members on hand to provide support. We cannot afford to lose this important service.”
“It is unbelievable that with this plan, the government will be handing over another £500 million to rail bosses and shareholders while delivering a poorer service for residents.
Watford Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability, Cllr Ian Stotesbury, highlighted the effect these plans will have on elderly residents:
“These closures will disproportionately affect older residents who may struggle to use technology to buy tickets. We know from Age UK that in Britain, 3 million people over the age of 65 do not have access to the internet or a smart phone. How does the government expect them to get tickets?”
Watford Liberal Democrats are opposing these plans and have launched a petition to ask the government to protect our ticket office.