MPs probe rail managers, unions and charities over ticket offices axe

A committee of MPs will continue its inquiry on Wednesday 13 September into accessible transport by considering recent plans to close nearly 1,000 ticket offices[1] across the rail network.

Uppermost in the minds of committee members will be the effects on disabled people and other travellers with access needs, following expressions of widespread concern about how train operators' plans will impact rail [2].

Three panels of witnesses will present their respective points of view to the committee. The first panel, at 09.00, will of Mick Lynch, General Secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT[3]) and Louise Rubin, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Scope, the disability equality charity.  They will be joined by Christopher Brooks, Head of Policy at Age UK and Kate Pennick, Campaigns and Communications Manager, Transport for All.

This panel is expected to focus on the practical implications of closures and how they could negatively impact upon passengers with specific [4] needs. Questions could also be asked as to whether the consultation process itself was accessible. Concerns by the [5] about the consultation and whether proposals could lead to staff reduction may also be discussed.

Two witnesses will be present at the second panel at 10.00. Anthony Smith, Chief Executive of Transport Focus[6], the independent watchdog for transport users will be joined by Stephanie Tobin, the Director of Strategy, Policy and Reform at the Office of Rail and Road (ORR[7]).

Discussion is expected to focus on how these organisations were involved in the consultation process, how it was designed and how responses will be analysed. Changes to staffing may also be taking into consideration as well as how the interests of passengers with accessibility needs will be served.

The final panel, at 11.00 will consist of three managing directors from rail operators: David Horne of LNER, Andy Mellors of Avanti and Richard Allen of [8]. They will be joined by Simon Moorhead, Chief Information Officer of the Rail Delivery Group[9].

MPs are expected to probe the rationale behind the ticket office closures as well as the extent of the proposals. They are also likely to ask whether disabled people's organisations have been consulted over the impact these changes could have as well as whether people with accessibility needs will be adequately supported.

The committee will convene at 09.00 on Wednesday 13 September at the Grimond Room at Portcullis House at the Houses of Parliament. The session will be broadcast live on


  1. ^ ticket offices (
  2. ^ (
  3. ^ RMT (
  4. ^ (
  5. ^ (
  6. ^ Transport Focus (
  7. ^ ORR (
  8. ^ (
  9. ^ Rail Delivery Group (