Campaigners who have been fighting to save railway station ticket offices such as Bridgwater from closure are today celebrating following the Governments complete withdrawal of closure plans. RMT Secretary Mick Lynch described it as a ‘complete victory’, while Mayor of Bridgwater Cllr Mick Lerry (Labour, Victoria) added “The Government were foolish to try and spend an enormous amount of time trying to close ticket offices at Railway Stations. Resources and funding should have been spent on improving reliability for train users, while encouraging more passengers to use rail and public transport. The closure of ticket offices would not encourage more passengers to use the railways or public transport. Bridgwater Railway Station has been without a ticket office, due to poor management and a lack of commitment due to the anticipated closure, which the Government has now dropped due to public pressure and discrimination”.
Transport Forum campaigner Cllr Tim Mander (Labour, Westover) commented
“I was delighted to hear of the government’s decision to reject the proposal to close rail ticket offices. This reversal was a result of a brilliant campaign by both the RMT and Rail User Groups and I was pleased to play a small part in this campaign. Locally the challenge is now to get the Bridgwater Ticket office fully staffed and open the hours it is meant to open”
Towards a new rail future
Leader of Bridgwater Town Council Cllr Brian Smedley (Labour, Westover) said
“This is a great achievement by the people who have fought for this including local trades unions, community groups and our Town Transport Forum. However, the next step is to get everyone to focus on the future direction of railways and public transport in general and that’s one which puts passengers before profit, makes the railways and our busses safe and affordable means of transport.”
Bridgwater Town Council Portfolio Holder for transport Cllr Dave Loveridge (Labour, Dunwear North) said “What a tremendous victory for the passengers using the railways. It just goes to show that solidarity and public outcry can bring about change. Well done all who helped bring a change about. But a word of caution. We must be alert in case they bring it in by the back door. “