England

London Midland to meet rail watchdog in ticket office row

A train company has promised to talk to a rail industry watchdog over plans to cut opening hours at ticket offices.

London Midland, which runs services across much of the Midlands and into London and the North West, has said it will talk to Passenger Focus.

A consultation on new opening hours for 86 ticket offices brought 18,000 protest letters and emails.

Alex Hynes, London Midland commercial director, said: "We clearly recognise the concerns raised."

Passenger Focus said it had only heard from one person who thought cutting opening hours and closing nine ticket offices were good ideas.

'Constructive dialogue'

Passenger Focus

Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus chief executive, said: "London Midland has done a good job in talking to its passengers about its plans but the message back is clear.

"Passengers were almost unanimous in their request for staff at the station, raising concerns about ticket machines and the need for staff for advice and assistance on ticket sales.

"We fear these plans will lead to passengers paying more for their tickets than they should."

Mr Hynes said: "We've already started work on dealing with many of the issues raised during the consultation.

"As part of the important next steps we want to make sure that we continue to have a constructive dialogue with all of our key stakeholders.

We are keen that our future discussions prove positive in overcoming the initial objections to our proposals."

London Midland plans to install 29 new ticket vending machines, upgrade help points and deliver other security measures, where necessary.

London Midland operates services through London, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, the West Midlands, Shropshire, Cheshire and Merseyside.

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