MK Labour has welcomed the news that Bletchley and Wolverton’s ticket offices have been saved following a large-scale campaign against the Government and its plans for nationwide ticket office closures.
Earlier this year the Conservative Government announced its intention to close up to 1,000 ticket offices, citing it as the “right thing to do” for the British public. Bletchley and Wolverton stations were among those listed for closure, despite East West Rail expected to drastically increase the number of passengers passing through Bletchley in the coming years. MK Labour launched a petition against the closures, and Milton Keynes City Council passed a motion calling for the ticket offices to be saved.
The Government had also been met with immense criticism from unions and disability groups. Many people, including visually impaired and older residents, rely on ticket offices to get help and assistance with their journey. The closures would have left vulnerable customers at a severe disadvantage.
Councillor Pete Marland, Labour Leader of Milton Keynes City Council, said: “We are pleased that the Government has recognised that its plans to close ticket offices were shambolic and ill-conceived. Many residents rely on ticket offices to complete their journeys and closing them would have a detrimental impact on some of our must vulnerable residents. That is why we campaigned to stop these awful plans, and welcome the Government’s u-turn today.”
Councillor Ed Hume, who represents Bletchley East, added:“Bletchley’s ticket office plays a major part in the lives of countless residents and visitors, and we can only expect this demand to increase through East West Rail. Closing it would have made it almost impossible for some people to travel by rail and would have been a leap in the wrong direction.”
Chris Curtis, Labour Spokesperson for MK North, concluded:“I would like to thank everyone from across Milton Keynes who supported our campaign and signed our petition to save our vital ticket offices. But this isn’t the end, and I will continue to campaign to save our vital local services, whether that’s our public transport system, our NHS, or our High Streets.”