ScotRail to close or curb opening hours at 123 ticket offices - including Mount Florida, Cardonald and more

ScotRail has announced plans to close three ticket offices and cut the opening hours of 120 of its 140 others after a big reduction in sales.

Scotland’s main train operator said there would be no redundancies, with staff redeployed to help tackle fare dodging instead.

It said ticket offices had seen business halved over the last ten years as more passengers bought tickets from vending machines and online.

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What offices will close?

Under a consultation to be launched on Wednesday, stations at Clydebank, Cartsdyke in Greenock and Woodhill, near Port Glasgow, would lose their ticket offices.

ScotRail’s reduced train timetable has begun as the rail operator seeks to cope with Covid-related staff absences.

Where will opening hours be cut?

Reduced opening hours at all but ten of ScotRail’s other ticket offices would include Anniesland and Mount Florida.

Some stations would see only small changes, such as Bearsden’s ticket office closing about 25 minutes earlier than currently.

To see the full list of changes visit the ScotRail site.

The three ticket offices earmarked for closure are open from early morning to early afternoon at present.

Why is it making the change?

ScotRail said it had based the proposals on ticket sales in 2019, pre-pandemic.

A spokesperson: “Keeping a ticket office open that sells only ten tickets a day is not the best use of people.

“The changes will enable more focus on revenue protection duties.”

In a report published last August, Professor Iain Docherty of the University of Stirling, the country’s leading transport academic, questioned “whether legacy business activities such as the provision of ticket offices is viable in future”.

However, ScotRail said its review of ticket offices had started well before that report was written last May to provide advice for the train operator’s post-Covid recovery.

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, which represents ticket office staff, said: “This is completely the wrong step for growing numbers on Scotland’s railway.

“Closing booking offices and/or reducing their opening hours is a retrograde step.

“Booking office staff don’t just sell tickets, they help passengers on and off the trains and they keep stations safe for passengers – by salting and gritting platforms at this time of the year and by discouraging anti-social behaviour.

“ScotRail’s plans will make the railways feel less safe, particularly for women, especially in the darker months, and will result in an increase in anti-social behaviour.

“They will put people off travelling on Scotland’s railways, reducing fares revenue which could be invested in the railway, and cut the services Scottish passengers get.”

How have unions responded?

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union said: “Our position is clear - staff our stations and keep our booking offices open, for a safe, secure and accessible railway for all, including the most vulnerable people within society.

Scotland organiser Mick Hogg said: “We will oppose any cuts to station jobs and the refusal to fill vacancies.

“We will oppose closing any ticket offices across the network.

“We will oppose lone working, casualising and de-skilling station jobs, and replacing staff with new technology.”

Kevin Lindsay, Scotland organiser of train drivers’ union Aslef, said: “Ticket offices are often the hub of communities and the staff play a vital role on reducing anti-social behaviour, giving passengers assistance and helping them with enquires.

“It’s extremely disappointing that the Scottish Government is sanctioning cuts services and now ticket offices.

“It does not bare well for the future of Scotland’s railway when ScotRail moves back into the total control of Scottish Government ministers.”