Ilkley and Keighley rail station ticket offices earmarked for closure

Skipton railway station's ticket office has been saved from closure under plans announced by rail operator Northern, but the ones at Keighley and Ilkley will be shut for good as part of the proposals.

Northern has begun a consultation on the plans today, and says stations without a ticket office would instead have a 'multi-skilled Journey Maker' to ensure that staff are accessible and available when needed the most.

Ilkley and Keighley ticket offices are among 131 that would close, while the Skipton station ticket office's opening times would be reduced. Skipton would be one of 18 across the region that remain open - and one of just four kept open by Northern in Yorkshire along with Leeds, Bradford Interchange and Harrogate.

Skipton's ticket office opening hours would change to be 6am to 6pm on weekdays and 9am to 5pm on weekends, under the plans. 

The new 'Journey Makers' at Ilkley station would work 7am-4pm on weekdays and 9.30am-4.30pm on Saturdays, while at Keighley there would be a member of staff on hand 6am-6pm weekdays and 7am-7pm on Saturdays.

Keighley and Ilkley MP Robbie Moore said: "In my view, closing our local ticket offices would be completely and utterly misjudged.

"Ticket office closures will erode a vital service provision impacting those in our community who rely on their service to get around. Despite this closure proposal being put forward by Northern, they admit that more than 1 in 6 customers still use their Ticket Offices, so by going ahead with their plan, many passengers will be impacted.

"Northern’s closure plans will also severely negatively impact passengers who have accessibility issues and require face-to-face assistance.

"As your MP, I will be making my opposition to these plans clear to Northern and I urge all passengers to officially submit their objections to these plans direct to Northern."

Former Ilkley and Keighley MP John Grogan, who is standing as the Labour party candidate at the next general election, told Rombalds Radio: "A ticket office has been a feature of the station in Ilkley since it opened in 1865 and in Keighley since the first trains came to the town in 1847.

"Clearly many more tickets are now sold online but ticket office staff still perform many crucial functions. They help the disabled and also advise the many people who only rarely use trains or have little or no access online. The ticketing system is so complicated and they can assist people find the cheapest fares. Their presence make passengers feel safer. Ticket office staff can also be crucial when trains are cancelled or disrupted and passengers need immediate advice on what to do.

"I am afraid passengers will not believe suggestions that staff will be redeployed to work around the stations given that these proposals are driven by Government demands for cost cutting. I fear that more train strikes will follow as a result of these plans inconveniencing commuters in Keighley and Ilkley.

"I would urge passengers who use the ticket offices to take part in the consultation and I would also be interested to hear directly from those who do so at john@johngrogan.org.uk so I can build up a dossier of evidence."

The consultation is open until 28th July via the Transport Focus website at transportfocus.org.uk/train-station-ticket-office-consultation/

You can find more details about the proposed changes at northernrailway.co.uk/consultation-2023

 

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