Serious concerns have been raised over proposals to close the ticket office at Lowestoft's train station.

Proposed changes to services at Lowestoft train station have sparked fears that customers will be left "without support" as closure decisions are made "without thought for the vulnerable users that rely on them".

Lowestoft Journal: Peter Aldous, Conservative MP for Waveney

With Greater Anglia currently consulting about proposed changes to the way tickets are sold and customer service is provided at stations, Waveney MP Peter Aldous slammed the proposals as "a retrograde step."

Making a representation to Greater Anglia as part of the consultation on proposed ticket office changes at Lowestoft Station, Mr Aldous said: "At present Lowestoft is a fully staffed station including a ticket office.

Lowestoft Journal: There is no guarantee of a Lowestoft to London direct rail route.

"Greater Anglia's proposals are to close the ticket office and to reduce the hours that the station is staffed.

"I believe that the plan to significantly reduce the hours that Lowestoft Station is staffed are a retrograde step.

"Transport Focus advise that in making a decision as to whether to make changes to ticket office hours they will be following the process set out in the Ticketing and Settlement Agreement.

"Taking into account this criteria, I am of the view that Greater Anglia's proposals do not meet these requirements and should thus be rejected."

The proposals form part of a cull planned by Greater Anglia, which wants to close 47 of its 54 ticket offices across the region.

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

The independent voluntary body for public transport users in east Suffolk and Waveney, the East Suffolk Travel Association, said they had "serious concerns" about the ticket office closures.

A spokesman said: "Greater Anglia and the Rail Delivery Groups state that 12 per cent of tickets are bought at ticket offices, but the reality in East Anglia that figure is 16pc."

With Waveney Labour Group members at Lowestoft railway station on Tuesday, people were signing a petition against the plans.

Lowestoft Journal: Jess Asato.Jess Asato. (Image: Waveney Labour Group)

It comes as Jess Asato, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Waveney wrote to Transport Secretary Mark Harper, raising concerns about changes to the ticket office at Lowestoft station.

She said: "Passengers in Waveney should not have to face any further disruptions to their travel plans due to the poor management of our rail networks.

"Ticket offices are facing closures without thought for the vulnerable users that rely on them."

Lowestoft Journal: East Suffolk Council leader Caroline Topping. Picture: East Suffolk CouncilEast Suffolk Council leader Caroline Topping. Picture: East Suffolk Council (Image: ESC)

East Suffolk Council leader Caroline Topping has also expressed concerns about the possible closure, as have other councillors.

Cllr Topping said: "The proposed closure of the ticket office at Lowestoft is extremely worrying.

"We want to encourage even more people to use trains and buses, rather than relying on cars and having a staffed ticket office is hugely important.

"Ticket office staff provide essential support for those with disabilities and additional needs, as well as providing face-to-face engagement with customers, helping with queries and fares.

"We want to make rail travel an easy, attractive and accessible experience and this starts with retaining the ticket office and the invaluable human contact this provides.

"We will be informing Greater Anglia of our objections and I would encourage residents to also give their feedback."

Lowestoft Journal: Peter Byatt.Peter Byatt. (Image: MAXINE CLARKE)

Peter Byatt, leader of the East Suffolk Labour Group, added: "We are wholly opposed to the closure of Railway Ticket Offices, as they offer a vital service to travellers.

"They provide a safe, central place for advice and assistance, particularly as not everyone is able to use ticket vending machines or online ticketing sites.

"Ticket machines do not provide the many services offered by ticket office staff." 

With submissions to the consultation due by Wednesday, July 26, a Greater Anglia spokesman said: "The proposals form part of plans to modernise the railway and bring it more in line with modern consumer expectations."

To comment on the plans visit