A leading councillor is calling on rail companies to give assurances that plans to close a number of ticket offices across the city and region do not affect passengers or lead to job losses.

A leading councillor is calling on rail companies to give assurances that plans to close a number of ticket offices across the city and region do not affect passengers or lead to job losses.

The Government has told train companies to consult on proposed changes to the way that tickets are sold at railway stations and the consultation ends tomorrow (1 September).

The proposed changes differ for each train company, but the overall aim is to move staff out of traditional booking offices and into the public areas of stations.

Subject to the outcome of the consultation, the proposals would include the phasing out of ticket offices and the multi-skilling of station staff.

Two train companies operate stations in Coventry, with Avanti West Coast managing Coventry Station and West Midlands Trains (WMT) operating Canley, Tile Hill, and Coventry Arena Stations.

The plans for the city would see Avanti West Coast close the ticket office completely. It is currently open seven days a week. Instead, staff would provide customer service at the self-service ticket machines.

Staff would still be present at the station, but as yet, it is not known if numbers would be reduced.

WMT would close ticket offices at Canley and Tile Hill stations. There is currently no office at Coventry Arena. Stations would instead be covered by mobile teams to offer customer support.

The Council has officially responded to the national consultation on the issue and has contacted the two companies to make it clear that it does not support any moves that would see a reduction in customer service at railway stations. It is calling for assurances around how passenger needs would be met.


Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council, said: “Although we support the broadening of the staff role and multi-skilling of station staff to better support customers, we cannot support any reduction in the quantity or quality of customer service that rail users receive.


“At present, we have received no information as to how many staff will be supporting our stations or the frequency of the support from these mobile teams. They have not told us how many stations or what area these teams will be covering, so we have no idea of how they plan to support customers at our four city stations.


“How will these plans affect people without internet access, those who need more support, and also, how will they impact safety at remote stations?  We just haven’t been told.


“That clearly is not good enough, and we have told the rail companies that we must have assurances on behalf of our residents that they will be able to get the support they need.


“Of course, we also want assurances on behalf of the rail workers as well. They are a vital part of our city’s transport network and provide a great service. Rail travel is key to our future green transport plans and our ambitions to revolutionise travel across the city. We need to know whether there are jobs at risk, and how these plans will impact rail staff as well as passengers.


“There are so many unanswered questions, and for a city at the heart of the country, and one that is leading the way in promoting better, greener, public transport, we are calling for transparency from rail companies. A well-run train service is essential for our future travel plans.


“Based on the information provided, Coventry City Council objects to the proposed Station Retail Reform at Coventry, Canley, Coventry Arena, and Tile Hill Stations, and urges companies to provide greater clarity.”

The West Midlands Rail Executive and Transport for West Midlands has also called for greater information, saying that while they support the need to modernise rail ticketing there are too many unanswered concerns.

Published: Thursday, 31st August 2023