THE MP for Salisbury has said it is "only right" for South Western Railway to explore possible changes to its ticket offices. 

It comes after SWR announced on Wednesday, July 5 that 153 stations on its network could see changes in staffing and ticket vending practices.

This could include ticket offices at all of those stations closing, made possible by what it called "generational changes in customer behaviour".

SWR said in a statement that “the proposed changes would help modernise station retailing for the first time since the rules on how to sell tickets were set, well before the invention of the smartphone.”

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After a letter from a Journal reader (Postbag, August 24) which said Mr Glen suggested he approved of such plans, the MP has told the Journal "it is only right for government to consult on whether change is justified, especially when failing to do so is to the detriment of the taxpayer in terms of cost and productivity".

Mr Glen added: "I completely understand that a lot of people want to and need to preserve the option of getting travel advice and buying their tickets in person at the station.

"As I understand it, the proposal is not to reduce human interactions but to bring ticket office staff out from behind glass screens so that they can help individuals use the machines or sell them their tickets via handheld sales devices.

"Ticket counters are now responsible for one in ten transactions, down from one in three just a decade ago."

He also said that failing to consult on change would be to the detriment of the taxpayer in terms of cost and productivity.

Under the proposals, all 190 SWR stations would be classed into four categories.

Salisbury would be in Category 1, meaning the station would have “colleagues with full retailing capability and expertise available to support retail choices and other customer needs until full transition to digital retail.”

No category below Category 1 would retain full retail capability.

The nearest station to Salisbury classed as Category 2 would be Andover. SWR defined stations in this category as having “multiple colleagues available to support retail choices and other customer needs.”

Tisbury Railway Station would be classed as Category 3, with the same services available as those in Category 2, but with only one employee present to assist customers.

Category 4, which would include Dean and Grately, are stations that are currently unstaffed and would not see any changes in service.

Of the stations slated to see changes, approximately 63% would be classed as Category 3, leaving one employee available at each station to assist customers.

All stations would have ticket vending machines under the proposals.