MSP Urges Locals To Have Their Say In Rail Consultation

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MSP Urges Locals To Have Their Say In Rail Consultation

Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan is urging constituents to have their say in a consultation about plans to close ticket offices and reduce ticket office opening hours.

The ScotRail consultation, in which a review into ticket office opening hours is being carried out for the first time in 30 years, will see all stations in Inverclyde that currently have a ticket office see changes.

Both Cartsdyke and Woodhall will see their offices closed entirely.

The local SNP MSP met with ScotRail officials on Monday 24 January to learn more about the proposed changes before submitting his own comments to the consultation.

Speaking after the meeting, Stuart said:

“I understand that my constituents will be concerned by these proposed changes. I raised a number of personal and constituent concerns to ScotRail about these changes, and I would urge everyone to make their views known too. You can read the consultation document online and submit your views by post or email. I will publish my full submission on my website later this week.

“ScotRail have laid out the number of tickets bought on average at each station during the busiest period in 2019. Both Cartsdyke and Woodhall were among the least used ticket offices in Scotland. It is very difficult to argue for them to stay open when staff could be redeployed elsewhere.

“One of my requests was to mothball instead of closing both Woodhall and Cartsdyke Stations. As has previously been reported, there are plans to regenerate the Eastern part of Port Glasgow and investment has already started in the James Watt Dock area. As such, with potentially more housing and people, these ticket offices could be reopened.

“I do not support the changes In relation to the reduction in opening hours at Port Glasgow, Greenock Central, Greenock West, Gourock and Wemyss Bay. I was told that the staff who would have been in the ticket offices would still be at the station, but in more visible roles. It concerns me that staff may be more vulnerable due to these changes as a single member of staff often serves stations. I have contacted trades unions representing ScotRail workers to hear their views.

“While I very much acknowledge that people purchase tickets in a wider variety of ways now as compared to 30 years ago, I have concerns about certain stations being left without staff and less support potentially being available for vulnerable passengers.

“ScotRail are keen to point out that freeing up staff from ticket offices will mean they can be moved about the network to areas where tickets are not normally bought or to deal with anti-social behaviour.

“This sounds positive, but we often see issues at Port Glasgow train station with youths congregating and youths using the Wemyss Bay line to access Inverkip beach. Most of these young people pose no problems, but on the occasions where this does lead to anti-social behaviour, if a more mobile and reactive workforce helps curbs this issue in these areas, then I think people will welcome the changes. However, I think many people, including myself, will need to be convinced.

“ScotRail have also stated that this change will actually increase its revenue. This again would be welcome and if it does generate increased funds for the operator, then I would argue it is time that rails fare increases were either reduced or frozen entirely.  

“ScotRail’s consultation document speaks about the company saving more than 75 tonnes of CO2 each year from unnecessary heating and lighting being turned off. I would argue that an even better way to reduce CO2 emissions is to make rail a more attractive option as compared to the perception now.

“The new trains are certainly a vast improvement but reducing fares would entice more on to rail and out of their cars. I hope this will be at the forefront of ScotRail’s thinking as we move forward.”

The consultation is available at

Members of the public can submit their views in writing:

Post: Transport Focus Freepost (RTEH-XAGE-BYKZ), PO Box 5594, Southend on Sea, SS1 9PZ

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