Ipswich MP backs calls to keep station ticket offices open in region

Sandy Martin sets off by train to Westminster. He has backed a call to protect Greater Anglia ticket

Sandy Martin sets off by train to Westminster. He has backed a call to protect Greater Anglia ticket offices. Picture: JACK ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Labour MP Sandy Martin has signed a House of Commons motion calling on rail company Greater Anglia to retain its ticket offices across the region.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union fears that the company is planning to close all but seven ticket offices in the region after announcing it is hoping to close some little-used offices at stations in Essex.

Now a motion has been tabled in the House of Commons by Norwich South Labour MP Clive Lewis.

It says: “This House is concerned at warnings from the rail unions that Greater Anglia trains wishes to close all but seven of its 64 ticket offices by the end of its franchise.

“It is further concerned that ticket office closures will result in a worse, less accessible service, higher ticket prices, more dangerous stations and non-availability of tickets when ticket machines break down.

“It is dismayed cuts are being considered when fares are going up and the profits from these cuts will go to Dutch State Railway who owns the franchise.

“And it calls for assurances from Greater Anglia that it will not close ticket offices for the duration of its franchise.”

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As well as Mr Martin, it has also been signed by MPs from Labour, the Scottish Nationalist Party, and the Democratic Unionist Party.

The move was backed by the RMT whose general secretary Mick Cash said the company should give a clear commitment not to close ticket offices while it runs the franchise.

However Greater Anglia insists it has no plans to close any further ticket offices beyond those it is already consulting on shutting.

They are offices at: Walton-on-the-Naze, Thorpe-le-Soken, Alresford, Great Bentley, Dovercourt, Harwich International and Great Chesterford. The company says no jobs would be lost as a result of the closures.

A spokeswoman for the company said: “We have no plans to reduce the number of Greater Anglia ticket offices to seven. However, we are currently reviewing responses to a public consultation about proposals to close seven little-used ticket offices.

“There are no current proposals to close any other ticket offices. We will continue to consult with our colleagues and the trades unions on any proposed changes to ticket office arrangements.”