Railway ticket offices will no longer be closed in England.
The proposals to close railway ticket offices in England “did not meet the high thresholds” of serving rail passengers, Transport Secretary Mark Harper said.
In July this year, industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) unveiled proposals which could have lead to nearly all offices being shut, with facilities only remaining open at the busiest stations.
Avanti West Coast’s ticket office at Glasgow Central could have also been closed.
It said moving ticket office staff on to station platforms and concourses would “modernise customer service”.
This followed pressure from the UK Government to cut costs amid the drop in revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
A train operator source told the PA news agency: “There is quiet fury in the rail industry about where we’ve got to.
“The plan was signed off by civil servants and ministers. They’ve U-turned.”
Ticket offices across the country faced closure under controversial plans that unions and campaigners said would lead to job losses and difficulties for passengers such as the elderly and disabled in paying for travel.
In a statement, Harper said: “The consultation on ticket offices has now ended, with the Government making clear to the rail industry throughout the process that any resulting proposals must meet a high threshold of serving passengers.
“We have engaged with accessibility groups throughout this process and listened carefully to passengers as well as my colleagues in Parliament. The proposals that have resulted from this process do not meet the high thresholds set by ministers, and so the Government has asked train operators to withdraw their proposals.
“We will continue our work to reform our railways with the expansion of contactless Pay As You Go ticketing, making stations more accessible through our Access for All programme and £350 million funding through our Network North plan to improve accessibility at up to 100 stations.”
Railway ticket offices no longer closing in England
Watchdog Transport Focus said it had objected to all of the proposals to close railway station ticket offices in England.
Chief executive Anthony Smith said: “Following analysis of the 750,000 responses to the consultation and in-depth discussions with train companies Transport Focus is objecting to the proposals to close ticket offices.
“Significant amendments and changes have been secured by the watchdog – for example, reverting to existing times when staff will be on hand at many stations. Some train companies were closer than others in meeting our criteria.
“However, serious overall concerns remain about how potentially useful innovations, such as ‘welcome points’ would work in practice. We also have questions about how the impact of these changes would be measured and how future consultation on staffing levels will work.
“Some train companies were unable to convince us about their ability to sell a full range of tickets, handle cash payments and avoid excessive queues at ticket machines.
“Passengers must be confident they can get help when needed and buy the right ticket in time for the right train.”