A protest against the proposed closure of Exmouth station’s ticket office took place this morning (July 13).

Barry West, South West representative of the RMT union, and Exmouth station ticket office staff coordinated the protest outside the train station from 8am until 12pm.

Organisers said they have had around 200 members of the public sign their petition. This will then be posted into a national consultation on the future of ticket offices.

Figures from Great Western Railway show that 28 per cent of tickets sold at Exmouth last year came from ticket offices, and 41.2 per cent were booked online.

Councillor Fred Caygill also attended the protest. He said: "My concern is that Exmouth train station, as a town of 40,000 people with an extra 20,000 people just from Sandy Bay during the school holidays, is a vital resource not just for the travellers on the train but for people who buy tickets online, which can sometimes be printed wrong.

"They have a friendly helpful face at the station, the two ladies do a fantastic job and it has been a valuable service for many years.

"If Exmouth loses its ticket station and staff I think it would be a retrograde step, it is something that is badly needed. We need to keep those two ladies working in that ticket office continuing to provide professional costumer service."

If the proposals goes ahead, the proposed closure date for the ticket office would be between October 2023 and June 2024.

A consultation is underway into the proposed closure of most of the country's ticket offices. The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies, says only 12 per cent of tickets were sold at ticket offices last year.

Mr West said: "The new agenda to close the ticket office is going to discriminate and disadvantage many members people like the elderly and the disabled some people that might not be IT illiterate and also it will affect many people on a low income. We think this will disadvantage people not give them an advantage.

"I urge people to make sure they sign the survey and contact their local MP's and let their town councilors know and make sure the train companies know the strength of feeling against these plans."

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “These industry-led consultations are about enhancing the role of station workers and getting staff out from behind ticket office screens and into more active, customer-facing roles that will allow them to better support all passengers.

“This is not about cutting jobs – no station which is currently staffed will be unstaffed as a result of these proposed reforms.

“We have been consistently honest about the need for our railways to modernise if they are going to survive. Reviewing the role of ticket offices – with the least busy selling only one ticket an hour – is a crucial part of this.”

Find out more about the consultation on the GWR website by visiting www.gwr.com/haveyoursay.