‘Isolation’ warning as Berwick train ticket office faces closure
Axing the ticket office at Berwick train station will increase isolation across rural communities, a concerned councillor has warned.
LNER has announced that Berwick is one of the stations where it plans to “repurpose travel centres, with colleagues supporting customers on the stations and proposals to create a modern station retailing experience”.
The announcement comes soon after The Bank of Scotland announced its intention to close four Borders’ branches – Duns, Eyemouth, Jedburgh and Newcastleton – between October 2023 and February 2024.
The trend towards the loss of face-to-face interactions is an alarming one, according to East Berwickshire SNP councillor Aileen Orr.
Councillor Orr said: “The problem we have got is we are seeing local post offices closing, churches closing, banks closing and I think people are starting to feel really isolated from the rest of the world, as it were, in rural areas.
“One person told me this week that she has intermittent internet in Berwickshire and she said if anything happened to her it’s very difficult to get through to the appropriate agencies.
“Everything is going that has propped up their lives since they were born and they’ve also lost confidence in themselves, questioning whether they want to live in rural areas when they get older or, if they are older now, thinking about moving into a more urban situation.
“I think it is more than a worry. People are seeing an erosion in so many services they have spent their whole lives depending on.”
Independent passenger watchdog Transport Focus will facilitate a public consultation on the ticket office closures, which has now started and will run until July 26.
David Horne, managing director at LNER, said: “Our customers’ habits have changed, and we must plan for the needs of our future customers.
“We want everyone to enjoy an even better experience when travelling with LNER.
“Our proposals for each of our stations will bring our people closer to our customers, improve accessibility and make good use of the hand-held technology and digital systems that we have pioneered in the rail industry.
“I would encourage people to share their views on our proposals as part of the public consultation.”
To submit feedback directly about the Berwick proposals, email [email protected]