Your chance to hold SW Trains to account on September 15

Templecombe station
Templecombe station’s statue to the memory of personal contact on the railway (Picture: John Baxter, Wincanton Window)

Key contacts to help you fight proposed Templecombe station ticket office closure

Around a quarter of the country’s railway station ticket offices are listed for closure, and inevitably Templecombe is one of them.

This is a pity, because the Templecombe office is one of the friendliest, most helpful, knowledgeable and pleasant places on the entire rail network. Some excellent people will lose their livelihoods, while the rest of us will struggle with the car park machine and the ticket machine on the platform. Our travelling experienced will be diminished further, as the rail companies try to remove any remaining pleasure from rail travel, charging premium prices for a third world service. There are safety, security and disabled access implications as well.

What can be done? No firm decision has been made. There is nothing on the SW trains or South Somerset District Council Websites about this, so it may not be too late. If enough people write to SW Trains, their MPs, local councilors and the local council itself, it may be possible to apply some pressure and head these proposed changes off. None of our elected representatives seem to be running with this, so give them a jab.

Our MP – David Heath MP -17 Bath Street , Frome,  Somerset , BA11 1DN or via website. www.davidheath.co.uk

Councillors: Tim Inglefield tim.inglefield@southsomerset.gov.uk
William Wallace: william.wallace@southsomerset.gov.uk
(They could start by asking why Templecombe station does not even appear on the rail map on the SSDC website)

William Wallace is also a county councilor, but it would be unkind to write to him twice.

SW Trains operates the line.  There is a” live web chat” this Thursday 15 September between 2 and 4 pm where you can raise questions and put points to SW Trains management. Just go to the SW trains website www.southwesttrains.co.uk and follow the links.

SW Trains managing director is Andy Pitt. Write to him at SW Trains, Friars Bridge Court, 41-45 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NZ.

Some points to make
• How much do ticket machines cost? We hear £30,000 or more. So where is the cost saving?
• How does the proposed closure fit with the company’s committed aim of  “improving the delivery of our service to our customers, being an even better partner to work with, and making an increasingly positive impact on society and the environment”? And all the other corporate social responsibility guff on their website?
• Automatic machines do not always sell the cheapest ticket
• There are frequent problems with automatic machines
• Train companies frequently change the rules regarding peak times and ticket availability
• Many people will find themselves paying unjustly levied penalty fares
• The lack of a personal touch will seriously diminish the travelling experience
• Current fares are very expensive and are set to rise further –the public would rather pay for staff on the ground than management bonuses.
• Wheelchair users and others with handicaps or difficulties will not be able to cross the line
• Car park users will be seriously inconvenienced if the ticket office closes
• A manned station is a safe station

You can guarantee that the ticket office will close if nobody makes a fuss!

PS: Templecombe  Station volunteers are also looking for recruits to help restore Templecombe station’s famous garden to its former glory, including the now-weathered statue. Contact Alison.clements@tiscali.co.uk

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One thought on “Your chance to hold SW Trains to account on September 15”

  1. Network Rail have decided to close the signal box and, presumably, have justified that decision to the Regulator, therefore the only reason for humans to be on site is to sell tickets and that job can be done more simply, quickly and cheaply by a machine. Although I am not a regular rail user, contrary to the Ed’s comments, I have never found the machine unwilling to give me a ticket and presumably, when the last human ticket seller is gone, the car park will have a machine that will be no more difficult to understand than those that we use every time we go shopping (except in Wincanton: Hooray!). Sad though it may be for those currently employed at ‘Combe I can see little reason to retain them. The only valid points that have been made are that wheelchair users and those unable to climb the stairs will be prevented from using the station unless an alternative means of getting them onto the platform can be found and, possibly, the station is a safer place with someone on site.

    I believe the Ed is wrong to say that machines do not always issue the cheapest ticket at the time: they are connected to the same computer as the ticket office. You may be able to buy a cheaper ticket in advance but you will still be able to do this on-line, although admittedly you will be unable to do it in person as you can at present.(if you really want to go up and down 2 sets of stairs twice rather than from the comfort of your keyboard). The thought of not having to climb and descend another set of stairs makes the use of the ticket machine positively enjoyable and, ‘though I am in the over 60 Grumpy Old Man category, I find it easy to understand and use.

    Whilst in the best of all possible worlds the Templecombe ticket office may be desirable, we must be pragmatic and, given the choice, I would rather have a cheaper ticket than someone to sell me that ticket. (‘though I echo the Ed’s comment about bigger bonuses)

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