Gradual decline in ticket office opening hours

PUBLISHED: 09:35 10 September 2008 | UPDATED: 22:19 15 June 2010

SOUTH West Trains has been gradually reducing the ticket office opening hours at Honiton Railway Station, leaving passengers to rely on an automated machine that does not work when it's raining.

SOUTH West Trains has been gradually reducing the ticket office opening hours at Honiton Railway Station, leaving passengers to rely on an automated machine that does not work when it's raining.That's what Honiton Town Council heard this week, as the franchise service plans to cut opening times even further.The council is to object in writing to the train company and the Department of Transport, which awards franchises.Councillors heard the cutbacks are being made at a time when South West Trains is enjoying increased profits.Deputy mayor Councillor Vivienne Ash has found the ticket office closed in both the early and late afternoon. "There is no indication at the station when the office will be closed," she told a meeting on Monday.If current proposals go ahead, the ticket office could be closed every day from mid-afternoon and all day on Sundays, she said.Councillors agreed it is a busy station and needs a full-time service.Councillor Sharon Holloway said the touch screen ticket machine does not work when it is raining.She is concerned that Honiton's population is growing and that people with disabilities will find it increasingly difficult to access train services.Regular train user Councillor Michael Teare said: "There is no substitute for a proper service. They've been running it down for some time now. When the ticket office is closed, there are no facilities - no toilets and no waiting room."Councillor Teare claimed the train operator is attracting increased profits.He fears an automated service will reduce choice and force up train fares.Former mayor Councillor Vernon Whitlock said the Department of Transport must be informed, because looking after customer needs is a consideration when franchises are awarded.


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