c2c calls for customer feedback on the future of station ticket offices
05 July 2023 •
[5 July 2023] Today, Trenitalia c2c launches a public consultation on plans to modernise customer service across the rail network, as part of a nationwide review of current ticket office usage.
The proposals include staff moving out of ticket offices and on station platforms, concourses and ticket halls as well as adopting new ‘customer help’ roles, which are already in place in many parts of the UK rail network, offering more face-to-face support to customers.
The consultation comes after a dramatic reduction in the number of customers purchasing tickets in person at station ticket offices. When the rules on selling tickets were set in 1995 – prior to the invention of the smartphone – 85% of all tickets nationally were sold at ticket offices. This has significantly reduced to just 35% for c2c in 2023.
Independent passenger watchdogs Transport Focus and London Travel Watch are facilitating the month-long consultation, which could see the closure of a number of ticket offices across the network as staff take on more visible ‘floorwalker’ roles.
The consultation comes as the industry continues to face long-running industrial action by rail unions RMT and ASLEF over changes necessary to bring the railway up-to-date and make it sustainable in the long term, with revenue continuing to average at 25% below pre-pandemic levels.
Rob Mullen, c2c Managing Director, said: “The way our customers buy tickets has changed and we need to ensure the railway offers an experience that reflects that. With the vast majority of tickets available at ticket vending machines or online, this change will see our station colleagues able to provide a more personal experience for our customers. We know how vital the railway is to our local communities and we look forward to hearing feedback on these proposals.
“c2c has extensively invested in replacing multiple outdated legacy UK ticket systems, with Trenitalia’s fully digital PICO system. PICO has made it easier for customers to buy their own ticket because it automatically recommends the best value fare; with the new customer help roles we can ensure our teams are available to provide customer service,” he added.
Ticket office facilities will remain open at some of our key stations and interchanges, selling the full range of tickets while the transition takes place. Following these changes, if a customer is unable to buy a specific ticket before boarding the train because it is unavailable at the station, they would be able to buy one during their journey, at a ticket office en-route, or at their destination.
All 26 c2c stations are included in the consultation, with customers invited to share their thoughts and feedback before 26 July. For more information on the consultation visit: www.c2c-online.co.uk/consultation.
To find out more about these reforms across the country, please go to www.raildeliverygroup.com/customer-focused-stations
- As part of the public consultation, local train companies will notify passenger watchdogs of their proposals, and post notices at stations advising passengers of the same. Passengers will be invited to write to the watchdogs with their views, who will then be able to raise objections to the proposals with the operator concerned. For more information about how to have their say passengers should go to www.transportfocus.org.uk or londontravelwatch.org.uk.
Further details on the pledges:
- Across the UK rail network as a whole, there will be more staff available to give face to face help to customers out in stations than there are today
- Staff at stations will be more visible and readily available on platforms and station concourses, helping plan journeys, use digital and self-service ticketing and be a more visible presence to deter anti-social behaviour
- 97% of ticket types are already available at self-service ticket machines nationally. For the remainder, ticket offices will still be available at busy stations and interchanges which sell the full range.
- In many cases staff will have handheld devices to offer more support
Those with additional needs while travelling on the rail network
- Customers will still be able to book assistance two hours in advance of their journey either using the Passenger Assist app or via a dedicated phone line available 24/7.
- The commitment to 20 minute turn up and go will be maintained.
- Many operators are creating more mobile assistance teams to move between stations and offer extra help where needed and customer help points can be used to get assistance at many stations
- Cash will continue to be accepted as it is today across the c2c network.