C2C, the rail company serving West Horndon passengers have been in touch to say they are holding a consultation about the station's ticket office opening hours. Details of how to make your views known are below and the consultation closes on 14th October.
This is the information provided by C2C's Managing Director, Julian Drury:
"As you may know, as a business we are facing severe financial pressures and are currently making heavy losses. The continuing economic uncertainty means that our revenue continues to fall behind budget, with season ticket sales down nearly 9% in the last two years. Over the same period the amount we pay in premium to the Department for Transport, (which is used to support the costs of the rest of the rail industry,) has increased by more than 50%.
This means we must act to control our costs and make difficult financial decisions – a challenge I know you understand. The current opening hours of our ticket offices have not been reviewed since the mid 1990s. They pre-date the invention of smartfones, the Oyster card, contactless payment and the c2c Smartcard. We are proposing making changes only when ticket offices are selling 12 tickets an hour or fewer – equivalent to one ticket every five minutes. This is the threshold used by DfT and the Transport Consultative bodies to judge whether or not there is sufficient passenger demand to justify a staffed ticket sales window, and the level they will consider in applications from operators to change the hours of opening or to withdraw a sales position.
The changes we are proposing for West Horndon ticket office are:
Monday-Friday Current 0615-2030
Saturday Current 0815-1740
Sunday Current Closed
Of course it is essential that our customers can still buy their tickets. This year we have invested heavily in our ticket retailing system, including new self service ticket machines that will be installed at all stations before the end of the year. These will sell a wider range of products, including tickets for travel the next day. We have also made it easier for people to buy tickets online and collect at the station, as well as upgrading our ticket office machines so they offer a better range of products to customers when they are open.
At times when we do not have staff permanently located at other stations, we have introduced our new mobile security teams who will be making regular patrols. They will be supported by the upgrades we have made to our CCTV equipment which is monitored live from our control centre, and regular British Transport Police patrols on our route.
These changes also do not alter our current obligations to customers who require assistance. Where customers pre-book at least four hours in advance, we will guarantee someone will be at the station to help them. If customers haven’t pre-booked, as today we will do our best to get them on the next available train. This will involve our mobile security teams or staff dispatched from the neighbouring station if necessary.
Finally, I can confirm our proposals do not involve any compulsory redundancies among our staff. We are running a Voluntary Leavers Scheme for those who want to leave, but everyone who wants to stay with c2c will be redeployed to other customer-facing roles.
The consultation will run for three weeks, with Transport Focus collating responses from customers at Schedule17@transportfocus.org.uk. Following our consultation, if we do proceed with these changes they will take effect from January."