Sight Loss Councils welcome U-turn on ticket office closures
Sight Loss Councils and Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) are calling for a national government strategy to address inaccessible rail travel, following issues raised in the ticket office closure consultation. We are also welcoming the government U-turn, following our joint campaign.
Sight Loss Councils, funded by TPT, are local groups led by blind and partially sighted volunteers. Together they work with organisations to ensure what they do is accessible and inclusive.
Throughout the summer, Sight Loss Councils, alongside national sight loss charity TPT, have been campaigning on proposals to close around nearly 1,000 rail ticket offices across the country.
Louise Connop, Senior Sight Loss Council Engagement Manager, stood at a ticket office counter
Following this campaign, travel watchdogs Transport Focus and London TravelWatch reported that they received more than 750,000 consultation responses and, of these, 99 per cent were objections. Following this, the Transport Minister reported that ticket offices would not close.
Key issues raised include concerns around accessibility, ticket machine capability, and how passenger assistance and information would be delivered in future.
A Sight Loss Council spokesperson said:
“Travel is already challenging enough. Before the consultation even began, blind and partially sighted people had told us that accessible public transport was most important to them. It is vital for people to be able to travel so they can work, socialise and live their lives. Without it, many people will become isolated.
“Ticket offices provide a readily accessible and easy point of assistance for blind and partially sighted people – and much more than just tickets. This is because of wider accessibility issues in the rail network and at stations. Roaming staff were also never an acceptable alternative because many blind and partially sighted people can’t see them.
“What we need is a national government strategy to address all of the issues raised in this consultation. We are also calling on transport providers to work alongside blind and partially sighted people to make transport accessible using
Passionate about making a difference? Want to influence positive change? Our Sight Loss Councils, led by blind and partially sighted volunteers, are recruiting new members. Join us today!
We use our lived experience to create positive change for others. Together, we tackle local issues and work with businesses and service providers to improve the accessibility of their services.
Join us to help ensure visually impaired people in your area can live the lives they want to lead.
You’ll get the opportunity to create positive change for others, meet like-minded people, have a voice, feel valued, receive training and learn or enhance your skills. If you’re interested in public speaking or honing your social media skills, there’s something for everyone to get involved in.
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Publication date: 31 October 2023