By Yaro Dmitriev
A transport union has accused Virgin Rail of planning to cut more than 100 jobs on the East Coast line in a new initiative to close ticket offices in favour of hand-held ticket machines.
The decision has been with sharp criticism from union bosses, with TSSA leader Manuel Cortes saying passengers would face a narrower range of the cheaper tickets because hand-held machines do not offer a full service.
He added: “This will be a recipe for travel chaos when platforms are at their busiest during peak travel times.”
Mr Cortes accused Virgin Rail of cutting a valuable service for passenger in the name of private profit.
“Virgin wants to move ticket office staff out on to ‘customer service zones’ on platforms where they will sell tickets from hand-held machines.
A Virgin Trains spokesman said: “We’re investing heavily in the East Coast franchise and have made a number of changes already, such as new interiors on our trains, and have seen our customer satisfaction scores rise as a result.
“At Virgin Trains we are always looking for ways to improve things further for our customers, who are at the heart of every decision we make. Of course where any of these changes affect our people we’ll consult fully with them and their representatives.”
Here is what some Leeds commuters had to say about the issue:
Paul Guise, 47 from Leeds said: “I prefer to buy at the ticket office, maybe because I’m more old school, older generation.”
Ian Pursell, 32 from Bradford said: “I usually use the machines because it’s almost always faster than using the staff booths.”