This is a press release from the Thomas Pocklington Trust:
Rail operating companies have announced plans to close 974 ticket offices across England. A public consultation was launched last Wednesday and closes on Wednesday 26 July. We need to take action now to stop these plans – not because we are anti-progress, but because vital accessibility improvements for blind and partially sighted people have not been properly included.
Our Sight Loss Council members have and are working with many of those operators and making good progress in some areas, so it is somewhat surprising for such blanket closures to be rushed through in this way. Indeed, without specific and universal measures to protect independent travel of blind and partially sighted people, these closures will add another barrier to an already inaccessible rail network.
To act now, click on the campaign page: Countdown to closures
Three things you can do
- Write to your MP to raise concerns about the impact of the closures by clicking this link.
- Respond to the consultation using our template letter, which you can download below. You can amend the letter to add your own personal stories and examples.
- Spread the word.
Depending on where you live, and the rail operator(s) you use, you will need to send your letter to different email addresses all of which are listed on our websites. Alternatively, you can telephone Transport Focus on 0300 123 2350 and give your feedback verbally but do ask them to email back any form they submit so that you have a record.
This will impact the independence of blind and partially sighted people but the wider ramifications are so much greater, access to health services, work, sport, leisure and social activities will be more difficult to access if these closures go ahead.
The manner of the above consultation is clearly designed to dilute feedback across the country and to make it difficult to participate. We are perfectly placed to respond to every one of the local operator consultations. Indeed, if there was a campaign where we can make real impact, this is it.