Confirmation that Longbridge Station is to have reduced ticket office opening hours was heard in the House of Commons last week.
Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle asked Transport Minister Theresa Villiers to identify: “which train operating companies have made requests to (a) close and (b) reduce opening hours at station ticket offices in the latest period for which figures are available; and in respect of which stations such applications have been made.” [Hansard]
Mr Villiers identified Longbridge as a station where operators London Midland had applied for a reduction in ticket office opening hours.
Longbridge Station will be at the heart of the redeveloped Longbridge and is due for a long overdue ‘facelift’, although there has been some doubt cast as to how drastic improvements should be expected to be.
Concern has been expressed about security at the station should staff hours be reduced, especially in light of recent incidents, such as indecent exposure and vandalism. The station has already experienced an increase in passengers with the opening of the new Bournville College last year and numbers should rise further as the town centre development continues. Speaking about the state of Longbridge Station back in January, Councillor Andy Cartwright said: “… this station needs to have a station master. The people of Longbridge and Northfield deserve better than this.”
And in a letter to Timothy Huxtable (then Cabinet member for Transport) in January this year, Cllr Cartwright wrote: “… residents are saying that the station master’s position could be taken away. I do hope this is not the case as this station is used by many students and when the regeneration of Longbridge is complete hopefully more people will use these facilities.”
Northfield MP Richard Burden today tweeted: “Longbridge station in firing line for cuts in ticket office opening hrs. So much for commitment to area regeneration.”
In reply to Mr Burden, a representative of Birmingham Friends of the Earth tweeted: “So much for commitment to safe and reliable local transport! Staffed stations are essential for confidence in rail.”
Do you think more staff hours are essential to ensure the success of rail travel at Longbridge? Let us know your thoughts below.