Arriva Trains have become the first train operator in the UK to trial ticket machines with a video link to a staffed booking office.
Arriva Trains Wales have modified ticket machines at Llanelli, Pontypridd and Barry Docks so that passengers and a member of staff can see each other on screen when help is needed, particularly when staff are not available at the stations themselves.
The booking offices at Llanelli and Pontypridd close around lunchtime and Barry Docks is permanently unstaffed. If the trial is a success, Arriva Trains Wales hopes to roll out the facility to many other stations.
Passenger group Railfuture South Wales welcomed the innovation by Arriva Trains Wales, but said the video technology should not become an excuse to reduce staffing of station booking offices, which Arriva Trains Wales have insisted it had no plans to do so.
Lynne Milligan, Arriva Trains Wales’ customer services director, said: “We selected the three trial stations carefully based on footfall and existing opening hours to test the concept and gather customer feedback. There are no plans to reduce station staffing levels.”
Currently, users of the facility are being switched through to Cardiff Central booking office. If the video assistance idea is rolled out across Wales and the Borders, one potential option is for calls to go through to Arriva Trains Wales booking offices other than Cardiff Central only. This would enable staff in Mid Wales, for example, to answer video enquiries from the Valleys or North Wales at peak times when Cardiff Central booking office is busy.
To read more on the story, please visit Wales Online here.