Proposals to close almost all ticket offices in England were announced on 5th July, which has caused some upset amongst rail passengers.

Speaking up on the issue, Steve Hyde, Regional Campaigns Officer for RNIB South West, said that the closures will have a "detrimental impact" on blind and partially sighted people who are able to travel independently thanks to staff assistance - a feature which will be no longer at many train stations.

The proposed mass closure of rail ticket offices in England, including all run by South Western Trains, will have a hugely detrimental impact on blind and partially sighted people’s ability to buy tickets, arrange assistance, and critically travel independently. 

Ticket offices are not just about selling tickets. They provide a reliable first point of contact for many kinds of staff assistance such as arranging sighted guidance through the station and safely on to the train to advising on any changes to their journey that may be required. 

I have sight loss, and I cannot use the touch screen ticket machines that rely on the customer being able to see the screen. If the ticket offices close I will not be able to travel independently.

The Government claims it wants to “bring staff out from behind the glass” but in truth it risks leaving blind and partially sighted people behind a new barrier. 

Modernisation of our railways shouldn’t be a by-phrase for apps and touchscreens; modernisation should mean building a rail network that takes into account everyone’s needs and doesn’t leave anyone behind.

Steve Hyde, Regional Campaigns Officer, South West (RNIB)