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Cuts to operating hours of rail ticket offices in Aviemore and Kingussie on the cards

By Gavin Musgrove

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Kingussie Railway Station at the end of the day
Kingussie Railway Station at the end of the day

It appears that ScotRail is proceeding with cuts to ticket office hours after making its final proposals after feedback from public.

ScotRail said there had been more than 1,500 responses to the consultation by Transport Focus on changes proposed to the opening hours at 120 ticket offices across Scotland.

The train operator has now put forward changes for 21 stations but there is no mention of Aviemore or Kingussie.

There are just a small reduction in the proposed curtailment of opens at most of these stations and range generally from between 10 minutes and half-an-hour with one exception for Glengarnock where up to 100 minutes will be reinstated.

The report states: "Now that we have been able to take a detailed look at the sales data provided, we believe that there are instances where ticket office closure has been recommended where sales are at or over the twelve ticket per hour threshold."

Stations listed are Bellshill, Cambuslang, Clarkston, East Kilbride, Easterhouse, Elgin, Garscadden, Glengarnock, Hamilton Central, Hyndland, Kilmarnock, Kilwinning, Larbert, Linlithgow, Mount Florida, Pollokshields East, Queens Park, Rutherglen, Stonehaven, Wemyss Bay and Westerton.

It had been proposed to amend the opening hours at 117 ticket offices and close three entirely.

A public consultation on the proposals was held last month, which was organised by Transport Focus, the independent watchdog for transport users.

Large cuts proposed at Aviemore and Kingussie rail ticket offices were met with anger by local councillors and community leaders.

A ScotRail spokesperson said: "Following the feedback and after considering the views of Transport Focus, the train operator is now proposing to add back a total of 33 hours to ticket office opening times.

"This is mainly made up of an extra 10 or 15 minutes at some of the stations such as Bellshill, Wemyss Bay, East Kilbride and Larbert."

It had been proposed to reduce the opening hours at 117 ticket offices and close three entirely.

A public consultation on the proposals was held last month, which was organised by Transport Focus, the independent watchdog for transport users.

Three ticket offices proposed for closure - Cartsdyke, Clydebank and Woodhall - will remain open for at least two years while ScotRail carries out a review to consider whether new housing and incentives for businesses by local authorities will increase ticket office sales.

Rail bosses have claimed that even before the Covid pandemic, customers were increasingly using online options or ticket vending machines rather than ticket offices.

They said there has been a 50 per cent drop in the use of ticket offices over the past 10 years.

ScotRail said it will now work with Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government to discuss the next steps in considering these proposals.

Phil Campbell, ScotRail Head of Customer Operations, said: “The changes we propose to make as a result of the public consultation demonstrate we are listening to our customers and creating an environment that improves safety, customer support, and the helpfulness of staff.

“The safety, comfort and wellbeing of our customers is a top priority, and we will always listen to what passengers and people who use our stations have to say.

“We believe this proposal takes into account most of the issues we identified as important in our original plan as well as the views of the public.

“We are on course to deliver a railway that is modern, safe, and reliable which will serve customers even better in the future.”

ScotRail has indicated in the consultation that staff availability will remain the same despite the change in ticket office hours at Aviemore and Kingussie.

The Strathy is contacting ScotRail for more details on the two local stations and the representations made.

The proposed new hours

The proposals will see Aviemore rail ticket office’s weekday hours of 7.30am to 9.25pm cut to 7.30am to 5pm.

Saturday’s opening from 7.35am to 2.39pm would be cut to 8am to 2.30pm. Sunday’s hours would remain 9.40am to 5.20pm.

Kingussie’s hours of 8.26am to 2.30pm would be reduced to just 10am to 11.45am Monday to Thursday and 8.45am to 2pm on Friday. Saturday would be cut from 8.26am to 3.30pm to 9am to 11.45am.

There is no Sunday opening.

The findings of the 21-day public consultation are available here

Highland councillors urged new Transport Minister to stop rail ticket office hours being slashed

Proposed cuts to ticket offices in Aviemore and Kingussie included in ScotRail consultation

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