By Brian Moore
I note from a poster at the station, the local press and the London Midland website there is a proposal to close the Jewellery Quarter railway station ticket office. I see that there is a ‘consultation’ (sic) process hence my comments.
Whilst I understand that actual ticket sales may be declining I think it is important to understand how much information is given out to both potential and current rail/metro users at this station.
I believe there is a far greater role being undertaken than just the retail of tickets and although there is a growing use of the Internet for ticket sales I have found on many instances people I know have purchased incorrect tickets types on-line rather than obtaining proper clear advice which one gets at the ticket office.
Furthermore, as the Jewellery Quarter Station has significant lift usage I would be concerned that for a significant amount of time there would be no staff presence at the station. Whilst I fully appreciate there is a linkage to a control centre via the lift contact button I would have felt that an actual staff member on site is preferable in cases where assistance might be required.
On a wider issue however, as I have no doubt this consultation is a sham (notwithstanding my understanding that the co-signed franchise arrangement with Centro precludes such a ticket office closure) so applying some wider thinking there is currently a tourist information office some 300 yards away which I also understand is under threat of closure and to lose both facilities would be a tragedy and a retrograde step for this developing area.
Would there not therefore be some synergy in re-jigging the ticket office (space is available on site as I see it) to expand into a joint revised ticket facility and Jewellery Quarter tourist information centre (possibly involving Centro as a transport advice/funding partner?) as a significant proportion of visitors to the area arrive by train/metro the footfall must offer some exciting information/sales opportunities.
Furthermore anything which might assist road traffic visitors in switching to public transport would also be a valuable benefit to an area shortly to introduce new parking arrangements which would appear to restrict the available spaces for tourist visitors.
Anyway that’s my tuppence worth on the subject and have copied to the local authority representative for the area and the local magazine the Hockley Flyer in the hope they may like the idea also.