THURROCK councillors have voiced their concerns over rail sation ticket office closures.
The council’s planning, transport, regeneration overview and scrutiny committee met on Wednesday to quiz a representative of c2c as a consultation drew to a close on Friday.
Lee Watson, Labour councillor for West Thurrock and South Stifford, said: “I have got quite a few concerns and one of them is that a consultation is due to finish. In that consultation, it’s looking at five out of the seven stations that will be closed. The two remaining is going to be Grays and Chafford, however there is also issues at the other stations. I think it’s completely wrong that we are now looking at closing these stations.”
Ms Watson was shocked to learn that in fact only Grays ticket office would remain open under the proposals while Chafford would also close.
Ms Watson “We are going to be losing ticket offices that are really there for our vulnerable and elderly as well as those who can’t use machines. In my ward in Purfleet they are broken quite often and they don’t know how to use them.
“Even though Chafford sits in Lakeside in two massive private estates where people are working that that’s not going to be taken into consideration as well as the level of footfall.
“We are closing six ticket stations rather than five. I’m a bit shocked to be honest that we’ve taken Chafford out and there is no feasibility study done.”
Abu Siddeeq, customer experience director at c2c, said: “There is a proposal to close or reduce ticket office opening hours. One thing that has been really important to us c2c doesn’t have a lot of staff when you compare us to other train operating companies. We would not have any sort of compulsory redundancy scheme so you won’t see a reduction in the numbers of people.
“In terms of the roles changing, one of the things that’s been done before is the multi-skilling element where people can come out of the ticket office and do other types of service so helping at ticket machines for example, that isn’t something many other train companies have. C2c doesn’t have that issue so we can already ask our staff to come out of ticket offices to do other jobs.”
Mr Siddeeq added:“Nothing will move forward until we’ve got contactless tickets across the route. So you will be able to go from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness with contactless. You tap in your credit card in London and get off in Southend so that’s a very important element and will take care of a huge chunk of customers.”