- By Michael Race & Katy Austin
- Business reporter and transport reporter, BBC News
Train companies are planning to push for mass box office closures across the UK.
Industry bosses are expected to confirm a public consultation about the gradual closure of hundreds of ticket kiosks over the next three years on Wednesday.
Some will stay at major train stations, but in others, staff will be on hand to sell tickets, give travel advice and help people reach out.
Rail unions oppose the plan and have warned of further strikes.
About three out of five stations have ticket offices.
The Rail Transit Group (RDG), which represents rail companies, has made the move to start consultations on the future of box office after negotiations with the union RMT failed to reach an agreement.
The industry body says an average of only 12% of tickets are now sold at station kiosks, compared with 85% in 1995, as passengers now buy more tickets online or at the machine.
It argues that its changes will allow staff to step out from behind the glass panels of the terminal office and be free to help more passengers. Some stations have operated under the new model.
A spokesperson for RDG said: “The railway industry has always been open and honest about the evolving needs of railways with customers so that they can better meet their needs and secure a long-term future. for an economically important service”.
But Mick Lynch, general secretary of the UK’s largest rail union, RMT, has previously said his union would not “meekly sit back and allow thousands of jobs to be sacrificed or witnessed”. disabled and vulnerable passengers cannot use the railway”. “.
Peter Pendle, interim general secretary of rail union TSSA, said the government would “soon realize that the public does not want to see their rail network degraded in this way”.
The issue is the latest flashpoint between train companies and unions, who have had a protracted dispute over wages, employment and working conditions, leading to several strikes in recent years. .
The railway industry is under pressure to cut costs from the government after receiving much support during the Covid pandemic.
The Department of Transportation declined to comment on the consultation.