Thursday, 25 September 2008

Extended opening hours for ticket office?

Northern Rail is working on a business case to extend the opening hours of the ticket office at Morpeth Station throughout the afternoon. Currently it closes at 12.20 each day. The business case follows a trial of extended opening hours for several weeks during summer of 2006.

After the trial, Northern told SENRUG (off the record) that it had been successful [despite the extended opening not being advertised or promoted in any way]
The ticket office not only serves the purpose of selling tickets (including advance purchase fares), it provides a staffed enquiry point re train running information (there is no other form of passenger information available at Morpeth) and gives access to the toilet and the waiting room.
None of these services are available when the ticket office is closed.

If you want to support the extended opening hours, you can write to Wayne Dixon of Northern Rail (Area Station Manager North, Room 44a, Central Station Offices, Newcastle NE1 5DL). SENRUG would appreciate copies of any letter submitted.

For Information: Northern Rail sell tickets for their own services on their trains. Thus they themselves do not get extra ticket revenue from having the ticket office open, as generally the conductor has no problem reaching all passengers on the afternoon trains. However, if they sell tickets for other operator's services (eg National Express or CrossCountry), they get a commission. If the extended opening hours means that more intercity tickets are sold, the extra costs incurred could be recouped by the extra commission. Not everyone has internet facilities at home for buying intercity tickets, and if you need to travel the next day for instance you can not use the internet as there is insufficient postage time. So far, Morpeth residents are denied the discounted "advance purchase" tickets, available up to 6 pm the day before, simply because the ticket office is not open and you cannot buy them.

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