Rail companies in England have announced plans to close 974 ticket offices. A public consultation has begun and will end on Wednesday, July 26. We are working with other sight loss organisations to prevent these closures from affecting the visually impaired community.
These closures will add another barrier to an already inaccessible rail network unless specific measures are taken to protect the independent travel of blind and partially sighted people.
- Existing alternatives, such as ticket machines and many online booking apps, are inaccessible to people with sight loss.
- For blind and partially sighted people, ticket offices provide easy access to support with navigating rail travel. These service points must remain in use until a fully accessible alternative becomes widely available.
- Poor station design, faulty audio announcements, out-of-date wayfinding, inaccessible technology, inconsistent tactile navigation, and Victorian platforms already make rail travel difficult for visually impaired people. The closure of ticket offices will only reinforce these barriers.
The planned ticket office closures in England risk the visually impaired community’s access to independent travel, with 58% of blind and partially sighted people saying using a ticket vending machine without problems was impossible.
Fight for Sight / Vision Foundation CEO, Keith Valentine joined the RNIB, Thomas Pocklington Trust and other sight loss organisations in appealing to the Transport Secretary to consider the impact of proposed ticket office closures on the visually impaired community. Signed by representatives from 10 organisations, a letter was sent to the Transport Secretary, highlighting the ways this change would create further barriers to accessible transport for blind and partially sighted people, and requesting action to make the consultation more inclusive.
3 ways you can show your support:
1) Write to your local MP, explaining the issues with the proposed changes, and encouraging them to speak out about the impact of the closures. Find your local MP’s details via the Thomas Pocklington Trust’s website.
2) Respond to the consultation using the Thomas Pocklington Trust’s template letter, which you can download here. The letter template can be amended to add your own personal stories and examples (Find details of where to send below)
3) Make some noise! Tell your friends, family, colleagues, and social media networks about the proposed changes. The more people who respond to the consultation, the stronger the case against the proposed closures becomes. RNIB has shared a range of content on the subject which can be easily reshared.
Where to send your consultation response letter:
Depending on where you live, and the rail operator(s) you use, you will need to send your letter to different email addresses. Below content originally shared on the Thomas Pocklington Trust website.
London: London TravelWatch
If you live in London, address your letter of objection the following email addresses (it is up to you which one(s) you use!)
Avanti West Coast: AWC.Consultation@Londontravelwatch.org.uk
Chiltern Rail: Chiltern.Consultation@Londontravelwatch.org.uk
Greater Anglia: GA.Consultation@Londontravelwatch.org.uk
Great Northern/Thameslink: GNTL.Consultation@Londontravelwatch.org.uk
Great Western Railway: GWR.Consultation@Londontravelwatch.org.uk
London Northwestern Railway: LNR.Consultation@Londontravelwatch.org.uk
Southeastern Rail: Southeastern.Consultation@Londontravelwatch.org.uk
Southern Rail: Southern.Consultation@Londontravelwatch.org.uk
SWR (South West Rail): SWR.Consultation@Londontravelwatch.org.uk
England (not including London): Transport Focus
If you live outside of London, address your letter of objection to the following email addresses (it is up to you which one(s) you use!)
Avanti West Coast: ticketoffice.Avanti@transportfocus.org.uk
Chiltern Rail: ticketoffice.Chiltern@transportfocus.org.uk
East Midlands Railway: ticketoffice.EMR@transportfocus.org.uk
Govia Thameslink Railway: ticketoffice.GTR@transportfocus.org.uk
Greater Anglia: ticketoffice.GA@transportfocus.org.uk
Great Western Railway: ticketoffice.GWR@transportfocus.org.uk
LNER (London North Eastern Rail): ticketoffice.LNER@transportfocus.org.uk
Northern Rail: ticketoffice.Northern@transportfocus.org.uk
Southeastern Rail: ticketoffice.Southeastern@transportfocus.org.uk
SWR (South West Rail): ticketoffice.SWR@transportfocus.org.uk
TransPennine Express: ticketoffice.TPE@transportfocus.org.uk
West Midlands Trains: ticketoffice.WMT@transportfocus.org.uk
If you need assistance to provide your feedback, then you can contact Transport Focus at: 0300 123 2350.