In response to the consultation currently being undertaken by all Train Services, West Midland Railways have identified Kidderminster Ticket Office as one of the hundreds of offices to close under this proposal. Mark's submission to this consultation is as follows:
As the local Member of Parliament for Wyre Forest, I wish to submit to the consultation for the proposal by West Midland Railways to close the Ticket Office at Kidderminster Train Station.
Kidderminster is the second busiest train station in Worcestershire and prior to the pandemic saw approx 2.2 million journeys in and out per year. Kidderminster train station provides an important service to the second largest community within Worcestershire within a commutable distance to Birmingham and for school children into Worcester or Stourbridge/Hagley. In 2015 the government ringfenced £4million for improvements for Kidderminster Train Station including a new Ticket Office for the benefit of customers. This investment is still as valid now as it was then.
The onsite staff at the ticket office provide an important service to travellers providing travel advice and guidance and are the forefront of the customer service for any train company.
Train companies have a duty of care to all their customers to ensure that they are able to access the appropriate tickets for their journey, ensuring that all the information is available to them.
The Office of Rail and Road have through recent years conducted surveys and in their 2017 survey, ORR revealed that one in five people using a ticket machine were not buying the appropriate ticket for their journey. Trying to get a refund on these tickets would not be possible at the time of purchase, and therefore would be financially restrictive for people and will even cause some customers not to be able to travel. And due to the different rail operators, some tickets are not valid on certain services between Wyre Forest and London where you have to change in Birmingham due to services being reduced from Kidderminster. If you are in receipt of the wrong ticket you can be fined up to £100 or pay the full price of a standard ticket, penalising passengers who through no fault of their own have purchased the wrong ticket.
According to the ONS 6.3% (3.36 million) of the adult population in the UK have never used the internet with a high percentage of this group being over 75 or disabled and 24% of adults do not use a smart phone, it will be these people who will be heavily penalised by this decision and be further restricted in their travel options.
Removing the ticket office from one of the busiest train Stations outside of Birmingham would be detrimental to the people Wyre Forest and surrounding areas. West Midlands Railways provide a service to their customers, and to ensure that they deliver the customer care and diligence to all those that travel via the 2nd busiest train station for Worcestershire they should retain its ticket office and remain a fully operational customer hub for West Midlands Railways.