The consultation period for proposals to close station ticket offices and how railway tickets are sold has been extended until 1st September.
The public now has an extra five and a half weeks to respond to the consultation, which can be done online on their local train company's website or by visiting www.transportfocus.org.uk or londontravelwatch.org.uk.
Information from train operators about the consultation will be made available in accessible formats.
By increasing the time available for consultation, it is hoped that more people will respond to the proposals to changes in how tickets are sold at stations.
Along with the consultation, there is extensive and ongoing engagement with accessibility groups. Independent passenger watchdogs are also scrutinising the proposals that are intended to shape final plans for all passengers to be supported as railway retailing changes for the smartphone era.
Besides these proposals, improvements are also being made to types of ticketing such as pay-as-you-go and single-leg pricing.
Although there are minor variations in local plans, the proposals are designed to bring staff out from inside ticket offices and move to new, multi-skilled ‘customer host' roles so that they can provide more support for customers buying tickets and finding their way around stations. as is the case at Newbury and Reading Green Park stations.
The consultation is being facilitated by the independent passenger watchdogs Transport Focus and London Travel Watch. They will also be scrutinising operators' plans according to criteria set out on their websites. Anyone wishing to view the plans can do until 1st September 2023 at the website of their local train company, at https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/train-station-ticket-office-consultation, or https://www.londontravelwatch.org.uk/ticket-offices-have-your-say/
Approximately 99% of all transactions that were made at ticket offices last year could have been made online or from ticket vending machines (TVMs). If necessary, TVMs will be upgraded to sell a greater range of tickets.
In those rare cases where customers are unable to buy the ticket they need at a station, they would be able to purchase their journey during their journey, at a ticket selling facility en route, or at their final destination. Additionally, ticket retailing facilities across the network will remain open at busy stations.
Jacqueline Starr, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Train companies have listened to feedback, and are extending the time available to respond to the consultation on changes to how tickets are sold at stations to 1st of September.
“Operators are keen to give more people a chance to give their views on the proposals, so they can bring the railway up to date with dramatic shifts in customer buying habits, while supporting all its customers as the railway evolves and adapts.
“While local plans vary, the aim of the proposals is to bring staff out from behind ticket office windows to offer more help for customers buying tickets and navigating stations. At the same time ticket vending machines are being upgraded to offer a wider range of fares, and we have committed that no customer will have to go out of their way to buy a ticket.
“We encourage those who want to view the plans or take part to go to their local train company website or visit Transport Focus or London Travel Watch during the consultation period.”