Wrangle ‘puts off passengers’

People in a Shropshire town are still unable to buy train tickets in the area after the only franchise where people could buy them stopped selling them.

District councillor Dr Charles West believes the situation in Church Stretton is putting people off using the railways.

He spoke out after Terry Jones Travel stopped selling train tickets and railcards. It made the decision last November after operator Arriva Trains Wales asked all rail franchisees to pay £11,000 for new printers and software and £3,000 every year to continue the service.

The town council has written to Arriva asking for something to be done.

Councillor West said: “Church Stretton has a high proportion of older residents, and a high proportion of people who would choose to use the trains if they were made accessible to them.

“I am very much afraid that with no access to tickets, and no source of advice on routes, and ticketing optio- ns, many of our residents will give up using trains.”

There has been no ticket office in the town since at least 1994, said Arriva.

Press officer Maggie Abbett, said people could still buy tickets, on the train, on-line or over the phone.

But Councillor West said people could not buy advance purchase tickets on the train, or get advice on the best connections or options for ticket buying.

Town clerk Christine Harvey said: “If Arriva can’t keep the facilities going, they should at least give people the option to use discounts and give better advice on the best routes and fares. A lot of the elderly don’t have access to the internet.”

Mrs Abbett added: “It is standard practice within the travel industry for businesses wishing to sell tickets for any bus, train or airline operator to purchase their own ticketing system.”
This article was posted on January 17, 2008 at 11:40 am.

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