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ScotRail plans to change ticket office opening hours due to Covid-19 pandemic

By Abbie Duncan

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SCOTRAIL is proposing new changes to ticket office opening hours as a result of changing customer habits following the pandemic.

Elgin railway station.Picture: Becky Saunderson
Elgin railway station.Picture: Becky Saunderson

With many Scots continuing to work from home and an increasing use of digital ticket options rather than ticket offices, ScotRail's new review aims to reflect the changing needs of customers by reducing the opening hours of 120 ticket stations around the country.

Elgin, Forres, Keith and Huntly are all included in the proposed changes and would see significantly reduced opening times in the wake of these changes. The proposed changes for the opening hours of the Forres ticket office are: Monday to Thursday 8am-1.15pm, Friday 7.45am-12.15pm, Saturday 8.45am-1.45pm and closed on Sundays

Phil Campbell, Head of Customer Operations, said: “With more than a 50 per cent drop in the use of ticket offices, heightened by the pandemic, we want to do everything we can to make sure everyone has a hassle-free journey."

ScotRail have also stated that although the proposed stations will have shorter opening hours, there are no staff jobs at risk and that the proposed changes would provide more flexibility for staff by introducing more family friendly working hours and a larger availability of part time shifts.

Further promising that there will be no passenger disruption caused by the changes, as this will not affect the number or frequency of rail services that call at any of the proposed stations.

ScotRail also claim that this change will benefit customers by reducing the frequency of antisocial behaviour and ticket fraud while also helping the company to become more environmentally sustainable, as shorter hours in ticket stations will reduce heating and lighting needs and therefore decrease CO emission by around 102 tonnes each year.

Mr Campbell added: “There has been no real review of our ticket office opening hours for 30 years, and it is important we keep up with the changing habits of customers who no longer rely on purchasing tickets in that way. Nobody in ScotRail will lose their jobs as a result of these changes, and it is important to note that rather being about cutting jobs, this is about adding value for our staff and customers. Over the coming weeks we’ll be talking to customers, staff, and stakeholders about the improvements they can expect to see and experience as they travel around Scotland’s Railway."

Transport Focus, the independent watchdog for transport users, are conducting a public consultation from January 12 and are seeking the opinions of ScotRail customers on the proposed changes. Customers can have their say by emailing: schedule17.sr@transportfocus.org.uk

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