Preet Kaur Gill MP is fighting against government plans to cut staff and close ticket offices at University Station and Five Ways.
She has written to both the Government and West Midlands Trains, which own the station operators West Midlands Railway, to reconsider plans to close rail ticket offices in the constituency.
Plans to move staff out of ticket offices and into stations were confirmed by the Rail Delivery Group on 5th July. The controversial move has faced a lot of backlash, with complaints coming from the community, RMT union and Preet Kaur Gill as well as other senior Labour MPs.
Both Five Ways and University Station are key stations which rely on well-functioning services. University Station, one of the busiest in the city, is particularly important as it provides citizens with essential access to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Birmingham Women’s Hospital. Many people passing through University Station will be vulnerable, and many elderly and disabled. For those users, digital ticketing alternatives can present a challenge. Research by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), for instance, has found that only 3% of people with sight loss said they could use a ticket vending machine without problems and 58% said it was impossible.
Students at the University of Birmingham will also be affected by ticket office closures at University Station.
Commenting on the proposed closure of ticket offices, Preet Kaur Gill said: “I am deeply concerned for my elderly and disabled constituents, the hundreds of thousands of people employed in our rail industry, the staff employed in my own constituency, and all those who rely on the support and advice provided by staff in ticket offices.
"Cutting staff and closing ticket offices at University Station and Five Ways will have a major impact on my constituents. Passengers have repeatedly complained about ticket offices being closed or not working at University Station and Five Ways. What they need are functioning ticket offices, not for them to be abandoned completely.
“Many of these passengers relying on ticket offices are elderly and disabled rail users, to whom digital alternatives can present a challenge. And, as the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has highlighted, only 3% of people with sight loss said they could use a ticket vending machine without problems and 58% said it was impossible.
“Passengers in my constituency are already suffering due to the chaos on our railways. They should not have to face any further disruptions to their travel plans due to rushed changes to our rail networks.
“It is vital that staff have clarity about their job security and that vulnerable passengers have certainty that they will not be forgotten about as changes are made to the way our stations operate.”
See the letters Preet Kaur Gill wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport and West Midlands Trains below.