A PUBLIC consultation on plans to close nearly all railway station ticket offices in England has been extended.

The consultation was due to end today (July 26) but the Rail Delivery Group has confirmed the consultation has been extended to September 1.

Train operators unveiled proposals earlier this month for mass closures of station ticket offices after Transport Secretary Mark Harper urged them to cut costs.

Consultation on the plans was announced on July 5 by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which said staff would move out of ticket offices, adopting new “customer help” roles already in place on many parts of the railway.

The RDG said the proposals would mean more face-to-face support was available across the network to choose the cheapest tickets and advise on journey planning, as well as support those with accessibility needs.

The plans have drawn fierce criticism from groups representing passengers and the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT).

Jacqueline Starr, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Train companies have listened to feedback and are extending the time available to respond to the consultation on changes to how tickets are sold at stations to September 1.

“Operators are keen to give more people a chance to give their views on the proposals, so they can bring the railway up to date with dramatic shifts in customer buying habits while supporting all its customers as the railway evolves and adapts.

“At the same time, ticket vending machines are being upgraded to offer a wider range of fares and we have committed that no customer will have to go out of their way to buy a ticket.”

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus said: “Transport Focus and London TravelWatch have received more than 170,000 comments already. This feedback is currently being logged and reviewed alongside individual train operator proposals.

“It is important that a diverse range of views from all parts of the community are heard in this consultation. New comments received will be read, considered and used in discussions with train companies in the coming weeks.”

For more information and to take part in the consultation visit: transportfocus.org.uk/ticketoffices.