Metro chiefs are to look at closing ticket stations across the network.
Rail owner Nexus says it is looking at which of its nine ticket offices could be closed down now that it has rolled out new ticket machines and electronic passes.
No decision has yet been made, though it is thought at least some ticket offices will stay open, and that the several dozen staff working at the current offices will be helped to find work elsewhere in the Metro system if possible.
> Note the “ if possible.” Otherwise it’ll be goodbye and a free Metro ride to your nearest jobcentre.
Huw Lewis, head of communications at Nexus, said: “We are witnessing a big change in how people buy and make journeys as we roll-out smart travel on the Pop card and give customers new more flexible ways to pay. We are reviewing what this means for our nine travelshops but it is clear we still want an over-the-counter service for our customers. We have made no decisions, and we would talk to our staff first and consult with service users on any proposed changes.”
> As ever, they’re making cuts because we, the customer, want it. Or do we? Quite often changes in behaviour are the result of earlier cutbacks in the first place.
There are currently nine travelshops, including three in Newcastle city centre at Central, Monument and Haymarket stations and others at Gateshead, Heworth, Four Lane Ends and Sunderland Park Lane interchanges, as well as at North Shields and in South Shields.
Nexus has made changes to its travelshop network before, previously closing shops at Washington, Blaydon and Metrocentre at different times over the last 15 years.
A recent decision to close ticket offices on the London Underground prompted strike action.
John McDaid, for Unison, said they were hopeful jobs losses could be avoided.
He said: “With the new ticket machines coming on there was always the likelihood of this. We are in general consultation about the future of the travelshops. Although the way people buy tickets has obviously changed, we are in talks aimed at looking at other ways we can use the staff involved, and so far we are hopeful that people will not be losing their jobs as a result.”
Source – Newcastle Journal 11 Feb 2014