Please find below the BBC article on ticket office closure:
Plans to close hundreds of rail ticket offices in England have been scrapped.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the government had asked train operators to withdraw their proposals because they failed to meet high passenger standards.
However, a source told the BBC rail bosses were “furious”, saying the original plans had been approved by the Department for Transport.
The proposals had sparked concerns from unions and disability groups.
The plans were put forward by the rail operators as a move to save money under pressure from the government, with firms arguing that only 12% of tickets were now bought at station kiosks.
But passenger watchdogs Transport Focus and London Travelwatch objected to the proposals, saying they had received 750,000 responses from individuals and organisations in a public consultation.
These included “powerful and passionate concerns” about the potential changes, they said.
The main areas of concern included ticket machine capability, accessibility and how passenger assistance and information would be delivered in future, the watchdogs said.
Announcing the decision to scrap the closures, Mr Harper said the government had made it “clear to the rail industry throughout the process that any resulting proposals must meet a high threshold of serving passengers”.
“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.”
However, a senior rail source told the BBC there was anger among train bosses.
“They have been made to sell these plans, defend them and change them to try and get them over the line. All in the face of the inevitable onslaught of criticism”.
“All of these plans were approved by officials and ministers at the DfT. To say they fell short of their expectations is totally disingenuous.”
The body representing rail companies, the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), said the closure plans that had been put forward were about the “changing needs of customers in the smartphone era” and the “significant financial challenge” following the pandemic.
The RDG said it would continue to look at other ways to “improve passenger experience while delivering value for the taxpayer”.
Disability campaigners called the result “bittersweet”.
Transport for All, a disabled-led organisation, called it “the best possible outcome”, but added that while the government was “eventually swayed, it is appalling that disabled people’s concerns were dismissed for so long”.