By Rob George 03/05 Updated: 10/05 17:30
DROITWICH train station's ticket office will definitely be closed as part of a Government bid to slash £1billion from the cost of the UK's railways, a leading transport union has claimed.
Union bosses at the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) revealed the news in a series of leaked Government e-mails which appeared to confirm the closures, despite no formal announcement from the Department of Transport.
The closure plans were drawn up by rail operator London Midland in September last year and the business is still officially in negotiations with ministers to decide whether it will be allowed to press ahead with the scheme.
But the TSSA claim the leaked e-mails between Government officials show a decision has already been reached to condemn the Spa's ticket office alongside those in Evesham, Wythall and Malvern Link.
Droitwich commuters currently can use the station ticket office between 6.40am and 7pm on weekdays and from 7.15am to 2.39pm on Saturdays. Any closure would see the office replaced with self-service ticket machines.
TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes, said: "Rural areas like Worcestershire will be hard hit by the decision to close hundreds of smaller ticket offices across the country.
"Not only will passengers face less secure unstaffed stations, they will pay higher fares because machines offer a much more restricted range of tickets.
"Also, once a station loses its ticket office, it will make it easier in the future for the private train operators to actually close the station itself," he added.
The apparent axe was also condemned by Spa councillor Peter Pinfield who said: "Worcestershire and Herefordshire have been singled out in a bonfire of unnecessary cuts which diminish what little service and public contact we have with those
operating our railways.
"Droitwich train station is well-used and we all welcome a human face when we purchase our tickets or ask for help and information.
"Not counting the frustration we will all now have paying for and obtaining tickets I am concerned that those who are disabled or who have genuine communication difficulties will find it even more difficult to use public transport," he added.
A London Midland spokesman said: "We have not received a decision from the Department for Transport on our proposals to change ticket office opening hours across our network.
"Our proposals were consulted publicly last year in conjunction with Passenger Focus, the independent watchdog body for rail passengers, and subsequently submitted to the Department for Transport," he added.
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