By Ian Dipple Tuesday 18 September 2012 Updated: 20/09 15:38
THE GOVERNMENT has approved plans to close Wythall Ticket Office.
It is one of four which will shut as part of a review of ticket office opening times by rail operator London Midland.
Opening hours at Redditch Railway Station will also be reduced, opening five minutes later in the morning and closing at 7pm instead of 10.10pm Mondays to Thursdays. On Fridays and Saturdays it will close at 8pm and 4pm on Sundays. Self-service ticket machines will be available at all other times.
The changes will be introduced on a station-by-station basis.
Richard Brooks, commercial director at London Midland, said he was pleased the Government had accepted the need to review opening hours as more people now bought tickets online or in other ways.
"The reductions in opening hours will be concentrated at the beginning and the end of the day or on Sundays, so most passengers will see no change at all. We believe the changes strike the right balance - supporting our aim to control railway costs and continuing to meet the needs of our passengers in this challenging economic climate."
But Richard Hebditch, campaigns director of the Campaign for Better Transport, said they were disappointed by the decision and warned more closures would happen in future.
"Instead of working to make services more attractive and easier to use, London Midland and Department for Transport are planning to shut up shop.
"Cutting ticket office opening times might seem an easy thing to do, but the costs of maintaining staffing at stations is marginal compared to where the major part of budgets are spent.
"There is also a real danger that cuts like these could simply put people off travelling by train and kill off the rise in passenger numbers that could help the railway to become more self-financing."
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