Rail union RMT, has written to Transport Focus calling for an investigation into reports that ticket offices can no longer sell the cheapest rail tickets.
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The union believes the government and rail companies are deliberately preventing ticket offices from selling cheaper rail tickets as part of a strategy for running down and ultimately shutting all ticket offices.
Media reports have suggested that the only way passengers can access the cheapest fares is by buying tickets online or using a ticket machine.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch writes: "You may be aware of recent press reports that the government and rail companies are deliberately preventing ticket offices from selling cheaper rail tickets as part of a strategy for running down and eventually closing all ticket offices.
"Specifically, the report highlights that if passengers wish to purchase cheaper advanced fares, they can no longer do this from a ticket office and will have to use a machine or buy tickets online.
"This is a concern that has also been reported to us by our members working in ticket offices and raised by MPs in parliament (EDM 683, Withdrawal of Advance Purchase on Departure tickets from Northern Trains ticket offices.)
"Indeed, our members are reporting constant attempts to downgrade ticket offices, including not filling staff vacancies and reducing the number of ticket office windows available.
"Passengers are in effect being used as cannon fodder in the drive to close railway ticket offices.
"Restricting the ability of our members to provide the best service means passengers will not always be able to access the best value fare for their journey.
"This policy also disadvantages passengers who cannot make online purchases or use ticket machines and as such some disabled and elderly passengers could be disproportionally impacted.
"RMT is totally opposed to attempts by rail companies and government to close or degrade ticket offices on the network and in light of these new reports I would be grateful for your confirmation that you will conduct an urgent investigation into how the government’s policy on ticket offices is impacting passengers and that you will also intervene to ensure all passengers can access the best value tickets." ■
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