Concerns have surfaced over plans for swingeing cuts hitting 117 of nationalised ScotRail's 143 staffed stations which could lead to job losses that it was believed had bitten the dust.

The idea was first conceived at the start of last year when ScotRail was under the control of Dutch state-owned railway company Abellio.

The firm had come under fire over its plans to cut ticket office opening hours at 117 stations and the complete closure of three offices.

Now the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers has raised concerns that plans remain on the table despite Abellio losing the ScotRail franchise in April, last year as the Scottish Government took over control.

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And the Scottish Government has confirmed that the future role of ticket offices remains under the microscope.

They say it would mean a cut in hours of a third across affected stations and go against Scottish Government plans to improve safety on the rail network - which resulted in a commissioned study.

The RMT say that around two in three ScotRail stations are already unstaffed and that the proposals would make it more likely vacancies would be left unfilled with a reduction in station staffing across the network.

They say cuts will create a “muggers paradise” across the network.


The union, which says ministers have repeatedly failed to rule out going ahead with the cuts in talks, believes it goes against the research carried out by the Scottish Government looking at the safety of women and girls on public transport. It found "unsurprisingly" that they felt safer travelling when staff were present and there were manned ticket offices.

The analysis went on to recommend that the Scottish Government should look at increasing staff presence at both points of boarding, alighting and interchange. It also called for an exploration on the feasibility of increasing on board staff presence at the times that women and girls feel most vulnerable - including evenings and weekends in particular.

Then transport minister Jenny Gilruth, who had pledged to tackle the "systemic problem" of women's safety on Scotland's trains backed moves for a summit to discuss the report's findings.

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A union survey found that 84% of members said they had experienced violence at work in the previous year with nearly all saying it had happened on multiple occasions.

Some 90% of members said that violence on the ScotRail network had increased in the year with 95% saying anti-social behaviour had risen.

The union said the most common reasons cited behind this increase was lack of action taken against perpetrators; reduced presence of British Transport Police and reductions in station staffing.

Some 80% of staff who experienced violence or anti-social behaviour were lone working at the time.

RMT regional officer Mick Hogg said: "These proposals remain. We have been pressing to come clean with the proposals because we do not believe there is any justification to changing or closing any ticket offices.

"Any cuts will be a disaster and we are very concerned."

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In a circular to MSPs, the RMT said: "One of the reasons that we are opposed to cuts to ticket office hours relates to staff and passenger safety and security. The ticket office acts as a point of safety for both passengers and staff, many ticket office staff lone work and as the Scottish Government’s own report found recently, women travellers report feeling safer when staffed ticket offices were open.

"It follows that significantly increasing the time that ticket offices would be closed would be detrimental to the safety and security of both passengers and staff."

Under the proposals there were three ticket offices planned for closure - Cartsdyke, Clydebank and Woodhall.


But they were to remain open for at least two years while Abellio carried out a review to consider whether new housing and incentives for businesses by local authorities will increase ticket office sales.

The proposals were to affect nearly all of ScotRail’s managed stations and equated to a cut of around a third of total ticket office hours across the affected stations.

Ticket offices at Dalmarnock, Cardross and Wick would be shut at weekends.

The Abellio-run firm said that before the pandemic customers were increasingly using online options or ticket vending machines, rather than ticket offices.

It said there had been a 50% drop in the use of ticket offices over 10 years, with the pandemic quickening that pace of change.

It confirmed that ticket vending machines were located at 61% of stations across the network.

The Scottish Government renationalised ScotRail from April, last year, after a series of performance issues and complaints about the service under Abellio.

Transport Minister Kevin Stewart said: “I am pleased to confirm again that there are no plans to close any ScotRail ticket offices.

"Views on the future role of ticket offices will be sought as part of our forthcoming consultation. The importance of staff being deployed appropriately across the network to enhance passenger safety and control of antisocial behaviour is clear.”