CONCERNS have been raised after a train operator launched a public consultation over controversial proposals to reduce ticket office cover.

A public consultation has begun into proposed changes to the way tickets are sold and customer service is provided at stations.

Greater Anglia, along with most other train operators, is proposing to introduce more flexible roles for staff at stations.

The proposals form part of plans to modernise the railway and the companies claim the changes will “bring the train stations more in line with modern consumer expectations”.

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Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia managing director, said: “The station proposals are aimed at providing a more modern and flexible service for our customers.

“They reflect the more convenient ways in which passengers are looking to buy their tickets and check travel information.

“Station colleagues would undertake a new, more flexible role - bringing staff closer to customers.

“Passenger assistance arrangements would continue as they do now, from first to last trains, but with additional mobile teams to give greater flexibility in providing assistance across the network.”

Greater Anglia says under the plans, staff would undertake a more flexible customer host role, providing advice about the best and cheapest fares, and supporting customers with other queries and accessibility needs, rather than being confined to the ticket office.

Across the Greater Anglia network, it would mean that all 54 stations which currently have ticket offices would switch to the new model.

At seven major stations - including London Liverpool Street and Colchester - customer information centres would sell a full range of products as well as providing help with more complex transactions.

Across the remaining 47 stations, some stations would have staff available for similar hours while some would have staff available for fewer hours.

General Secretary for RTM Mick Lynch said: “The decision to close up to 1,000 ticket offices and to issue hundreds of redundancy notices to staff is a savage attack on railway workers, their families and the travelling public.

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“Travellers will be forced to rely on apps and remote mobile teams to be available to assist them rather than having trained staff on stations.

“This is catastrophic for elderly, disabled and vulnerable passengers trying to access the rail network.

“It is clear that the whole enterprise of closing ticket offices has got nothing to do with modernisation and is a thinly veiled plan to cut our railways of station staff.”