Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland (MACS) - Consultation Response: ScotRail Ticket Office Consultation

The Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland wishes to object to the proposals by ScotRail to reduce ticket office hours at the majority of its stations. We are surprisedĀ  and disappointed that there has seemingly been no consultation with disabled groups in advance of the formal consultation, or indeed even notification.

Our main concern is that no Equalities Impact Assessment has been undertaken in advance of the formal consultation to assess the impact of the proposals on those with disabilities, which are likely to be significant. If ticket offices are closed, particularly in the evening, as seems almost universally proposed, stations are likely to be unstaffed and there will be no one to assist those with disabilities if necessary, for instance if lifts are not working. Help points are not always useful in this context as those with visual impairment cannot necessarily find them as you need to know where they are, and you may need staff on site to assist you of course.

We appreciate that patterns of ticket purchase have changed. An Equalities Impact assessment would assess the viability of other means of ticket purchase for those with disabilities; are all ticket machines accessible/ usable by this in wheelchairs? How usable are they by people with visual or mental impairments? How usable is the app or website for these people? Our experience is that there are significant problems for those with disabilities in using these alternatives means of ticket purchase and these must be dealt with before any ticket office closures/reductions in opening hours are considered.

We appreciate that rail travel patterns have also changed over the past thirty years, but given that passenger numbers have increased significantly more recently it seems strange that the proposal does not appear to include any extensions in hours - they are all reductions. It appears more like a wholesale reduction in hours rather than a finely-tuned proposal to bring the network up to date.

If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Simon Watkins
Rail Lead
Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland
January 2022