RESIDENTS were seen outside Malvern railway stations to protest the proposed closure of ticket offices.

Placards, banners brandishing "save our ticket offices", and people wearing orange high-vis jackets were seen outside Malvern Link Railway Station today (Thursday).

The ticket offices at both Great Malvern Station and Malvern Link are set to close under plans revealed by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).

The Rail Delivery Group, which comprises Network Rail and the various railway operators, said passengers would be asked to pay for journeys by tapping contactless cards on barriers, using self-service machines, or buying tickets from staff on station concourses or onboard trains.

Malvern mayor Clive Hooper said residents had expressed “considerable dismay” over the plans, which would also see stations manned by staff from new “mobile teams”.

RDG has pledged that passengers with accessibility needs will be supported.

But Cllr Hooper said: “In reality, these proposals are appalling, particularly for elderly, disabled and vulnerable passengers and those who rely on face-to-face interactions for guidance or may not have access to online ticketing services.

Malvern Gazette: Placards and banners were seen outside Malvern Link Railway Station.Placards and banners were seen outside Malvern Link Railway Station. (Image: Submitted)

“Ticket offices play a crucial role in ensuring the safety, security and well-being of passengers.

“Trained staff on-site can provide reassurance and assistance in case of emergencies or unforeseen circumstances.”

The RDG said moving staff out of ticket offices and onto platforms and concourses would “modernise customer service” and make “more staff available to give face-to-face help.”

A spokesperson for Rail Delivery Group said: “The railway needs to adapt to the way our customers are using the rail services now, and the reality is that the number of tickets being sold in ticket offices has halved since pre-covid, with most customers opting to purchase their ticket online or at Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs).

"The industry will continue to work with accessibility and passenger groups to ensure that no one is left behind.

“We encourage those who wish to participate in the consultation to go to their local train company website or visit Transport Focus or London Travel Watch.”

The consultation in Evesham will end on Wednesday, July 26.

A national petition has been set up against the move, for more details, click here.