PLANS to close train ticket offices have been slammed by a Worcestershire MP.

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin has shared her concerns about West Midland Railway’s plan to close ticket offices at both Malvern Link and Great Malvern stations.

The MP has written to the regulator asking for it to explain the decision, expressing concerns about the impact this may have on rail users, particularly the more elderly who may not be familiar with getting train information and tickets over the internet and on their mobile phones.

She said: “Both Malvern train stations are popular throughout the day, and I am disappointed to see the train operator looking to make these changes.

“Over recent years we have seen bad reliability for Malvern rail users and now West Midland Trains seem to be unable to provide any hope of improvements.

“I have asked Transport Focus to immediately review this decision. Great Malvern station is in the middle of a facelift and Malvern Link was only recently improved.

“I am keen for an independent assessor to look at demand and footfall and ensure that Malvern commuters and visitors to the town are not now deterred from using the train.”

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The plans were published today (July 5) by West Midlands Railway as a way to modernise customer service.

The company, alongside other train operators in England, is proposing to bring employees out from behind ticket office windows to be closer to customers.

This comes as the number of tickets sold at ticket offices dropped from 82 per cent in the 1990s to 12 per cent today.

Under the plans, all ticket offices in their current form would close over the next three years, but West Midlands Railway would retain six hub stations across the network: Birmingham Snow Hill, Sutton Coldfield, University, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Worcester Foregate Street.

Ian McConnell, managing director of West Midlands Railway, said: “We need to evolve with our customers, as well as creating a more sustainable railway that’s fit for the future.

“Our proposals would mean staff being more visible and available where customers most need them; on concourses and platforms to help with journey planning, finding the right ticket and supporting passengers with accessibility needs.

“We understand that some customers have complex needs and some are less comfortable using digital technology. That’s why we will be consulting widely with relevant groups and looking at ways of supporting all our customers to ensure that no-one is left behind.”