The Isle of Wight’s cabinet member for transport has expressed his frustration following the announcement that Ryde’s new train ticket office, included in the £10 million Interchage upgrade, could close as part of proposed plans.

It was confirmed on Thursday (July 6) that South Western Railway (SWR) plan to shut all ticket offices across its network, including at Island Line’s Ryde Esplanade and Shanklin stations.

Ryde Esplanade’s ticket office has only recently opened after a major Ryde Interchange scheme aimed at ‘providing better travel connectivity and a much-improved public space’ in the town.

The scheme has cost £10 million and has been primarily funded by a Government grant, with the new ticket office included in that figure.

The new Ryde Esplanade Station ticket office is complete and opened currently.

Cllr Phil Jordan, IW Council’s cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, highways PFI and transport strategy, said: “I am deeply saddened and upset at this latest approach to running services on our Island by SWR.

“It was nearly two years ago we questioned the requirements for a ticket office, and on being assured that it had to be provided in the upgraded station, we undertook to design the ticket office in the overall scheme. 

“To hear now it is no longer required and so soon after opening is more than frustrating.”

Posters will be displayed at stations and on SWR’s website, inviting passengers to respond to consultations on the changes.

Watchdogs Transport Focus will consider the impact on passengers’ ability to buy tickets, staffing levels at stations and services for disabled people.

What will happen to the new ticket office if the proposed changes are approved?

Cllr Jordan is concerned that if the new Esplanade ticket office should close, it may become a ‘wasted space’.

He said: “I have asked that we get guarantees from SWR that the space set aside for this office is re-purposed and kept open as either a waiting area or as a retail area.

“I would be disappointed if the ticket office was now simply closed and shut up indefinitely as a wasted space and a deteriorating image within the station itself.”

No closures are expected to take place before the autumn, SWR confirmed.