A BRADFORD councillor has hit out over plans to close almost every railway station ticket office.

Industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) unveiled proposals which could lead to nearly all offices being shut, with facilities only remaining open at the busiest stations.

It said moving ticket office staff onto station platforms and concourses would "modernise customer service".

Tong Ward Councillor Matt Edwards, Leader of the Green Party Group on Bradford Council, slammed it as a "short-sighted decision". 

"Anyone who uses the train will know that the machines at our stations are not reliable and they don’t always make it clear which ticket is the cheapest ticket to buy," he added.

"This will also make it more difficult for people who need to pay for tickets with cash.

“Being able to speak to someone is vital for many passengers, and plans to close ticketing offices will make travelling by train more different for thousands of passengers – especially disabled passengers, those with limited mobility and parents travelling with children.

“Instead of another needless fight with unions and passengers, the Government should be focusing on getting services running on time, dealing with overcrowding and making travelling by rail more convenient and affordable.

"Closing ticket offices will achieve none of that.”

There are concerns that the move could lead to job losses, and put some vulnerable passengers such as those who are disabled or elderly off train travel.

Transport Salaried Staffs Association interim general secretary Peter Pendle said: “We are clear the Government will face strong opposition from this union on the totally unnecessary mass closure of ticket offices.

“Ministers will soon realise that the public have no desire to see their rail network diminished in this way.”

The RDG said 12 per cent of train tickets are bought from offices at stations, down from 85 per cent in 1995.

Passengers will be asked to pay for journeys by tapping contactless cards on barriers, using self-service machines and buying tickets on trains if possible.

RDG chief executive Jacqueline Starr said: "The ways our customers buy tickets have changed and it's time for the railway to change with them.

"With just 12 per cent of tickets being sold from ticket offices last year and 99 per cent of those transactions being available on TVMs (ticket vending machines) or online, our proposals would mean more staff on hand to give face-to-face help with a much wider range of support, from journey planning to finding the right ticket and helping those with accessibility needs."

Responding to the announcement a spokesperson for Transport for the North said: “We understand that the way people buy tickets is changing and that there needs to be reform.

"However, this should be done in a holistic way, considering the needs of all station users and local communities.

“We are concerned that the focus on ticket office staffing in isolation of wider investment (for example pay as you go ticketing) could lead to disadvantaging certain passengers and communities.

"We will be working with our partners on a robust response to the consultation using local evidence and knowledge.

“Patronage growth on the railways in the North is strong, albeit people are choosing to travel at different times for different purposes. Done correctly, we can ensure that reform supports growth and the needs of all passengers.

"But it must not be to the disadvantage of any station users, especially in regards to accessibility and safety.”