Railway station gate to be shut to stop fare dodgers

Oxford Mail: Sally Grover is upset about the inconvenience the closure will cause Buy this photo Sally Grover is upset about the inconvenience the closure will cause

RAIL bosses are shutting the back entrance to Oxford Station to stop fare dodgers.

The gate off platform two is open during the morning and evening peak hours and leads out into Roger Dudman Way for commuters heading to and from West Oxford.

But First Great Western, which runs the station, is sealing off the exit from January 1 .

It estimates up to one in five passengers using it haven’t paid their fare because it does not have a ticket barrier.

First Great Western spokesman James Davis said: “Unfortunately, as many as 20 per cent of people using this gate do so without a valid ticket or without a ticket at all, which clearly isn’t fair on the majority of customers who choose to pay the correct fare for their journey.

“To reduce ticket fraud, and ensure that those who are paying for their tickets are not subsidising those who don’t, we plan to close the platform two exit from January 1, 2013.

“Customers will still be able to access the station from the main entrance, a short walk away, and those with bikes will be able to use the customer lifts provided.

“We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused to our paying customers.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and keep this under review.”

Yesterday, some passengers raised concerns about extra crowding at the main exit barriers off platform one and inconvenience for people wanting to go to West Oxford and Botley.

Sally Grover, 61, from Tackley, is a library manager in Oxford and uses the station every day.

She said: “It will seriously inconvenience a large number of people, particularly those who live and work in Botley, those who carry cycles, and those who simply do not want to queue at the platform one barriers at busy times. People have to rush across the platform and bridge banging their bikes against people’s ankles.

“It happens, I use my bike and it is inevitable. A bike is an unwieldy thing to carry.

“We pay over the odds for our tickets and the station facilities should meet the needs of passengers, not the convenience of the station staff.”

Another rail user, who did not want to be named, added: “I only use it if I have an off peak ticket and the trip, usually with delays, has meant I end up arriving in peak times.”

The gate is open from 6.30am to 9.30am and 5pm and 8pm on week days.

Occasionally First Great Western will station staff there to check passengers’ tickets.

Mr Davis would not comment about how much it would cost to install a ticket barrier at the exit.

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