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Union claims of ticket office ‘massacre’, including facility at Diss, denied by rail firm

By Mike Scialom

Diss Rail Station
Diss Rail Station

Rail firm Greater Anglia have denied claims from a union they plan to close all but seven ticket offices – including the service at Diss.

Rail union RMT said it was launching a campaign to fight a “planned programme” of closures, which they say would see ticket offices at London Liverpool Street, Colchester, Norwich, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich and Stansted Airport only.

Tony Palmer, Diss district councillor and chairman of the Diss Rail Group.
Tony Palmer, Diss district councillor and chairman of the Diss Rail Group.

But Greater Anglia have denied the claims.

A spokesperson said over the course of the franchise, they would continue to monitor sales at ticket offices.

They did concede many customers were now buying online or from ticket machines – in line with other industries, and they were running a consultation to close seven “little-used” offices, which does not include the facility at Diss.

They added there would be no job losses as a result of the current proposals to close seven ticket offices.

I have not heard any hint of a closure in any discussions
Tony Palmer, chairman, Diss Rail Station Group

Greater Anglia currently has 64 ticket offices out of the 133 stations they operate.

A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: “We have no plans to reduce the number of Greater Anglia ticket offices to seven.

“However, we are currently reviewing responses to a public consultation about proposals to close seven little-used ticket offices.

“There are no current proposals to close any other ticket offices.

“We will continue to consult with our colleagues and the trades unions on any proposed changes to ticket office arrangements.”

The RMT says it is “completely opposed” to any closures, and is planning a campaign to oppose the ticket office “massacre”.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “The union is appalled at this planned attack on ticket offices and station staff across the Greater Anglia franchise which would wipe out the vast bulk of these vital passenger services over the next year. The union will fight with every tool at our disposal to halt these disastrous plans which are all about cutting public services to pump up private profits.

“This is all part and parcel of a national drive to de-staff our trains and stations as the private train companies look to smuggle in a faceless railway in a dash to fatten up their own profit margins. RMT is calling on the public and politicians to join with us in a mass campaign to halt this ticket office massacre that would stretch the length and breadth of the Greater Anglia franchise.”

South Norfolk District Councillor for Diss, Tony Palmer, who also chairs the Diss Rail Station Group, said he had not heard any plans to close the ticket office at Diss.

Mr Palmer said he was regularly in discussion with Greater Anglia on a range of issues.

“The ticket office at Diss station isn’t always open, but it normally is at peak travel times and usually you get a queue there,” he told the Diss Express.

“I have not heard any hint of a closure in any discussions.

“Diss gets a very large footfall, very large actually, one of the largest in the county, apart from Norwich of course. I think a closure would be very unlikely.”

What do you think? Email your thoughts to editorial@dissexpress.co.uk, or write to us at Norfolk and Suffolk House, Mere Street, Diss, IP22 4AE

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