Ian Hunter, Vectis Railway Enthusiasts Group:

Please do not close the Island Rail ticket office at Ryde, Isle of Wight.

People wrongly assume that the staff there just sell tickets to Shanklin or other stations on the route, but that is simply not the case.

Along with many others, I frequently travel to various places on the mainland and the friendly staff are always on hand to assist me and help me find the most suitable routes.

One notable time that illustrates my point was last September when I had planned a five day trip to Leeds and Manchester, via Hovertravel in Southsea, Portsmouth, Waterloo and Kings Cross.

The journey required five separate tickets which the staff sorted and printed for me a few days before my trip.

Sadly the Queen died the next day and the Steam special that I had intended to attend was cancelled.

I went to the ticket office the following day and the staff refunded my unused tickets without any fuss or stress on my part.

A ticket machine would not have helped me in any capacity for that trip.

Firstly, the current machine at the station does not recognise Hovertravel as part of a journey, despite it being included (and discounted with my senior railcard) when purchased at the ticket office.

Secondly, the machine would not have allowed me to easily buy and print all of the different stages of my journey starting and ending at the many locations on route over different days.

Thirdly, the ticket machine would not have been able to refund my unused tickets which would have potentially left me over £180 out of pocket and distressed.

This is just one of hundreds of examples of the times that I have used the ticket office to plan my train travel.

I strongly feel that getting rid of this service would have a hugely detrimental impact on my own and many other people's ability to travel on and off the Island. 

I would also like to raise my concern about the notion of people being charged a £100 fine for travelling without a ticket - surely this will be called into question if ticket offices are removed and machines - which are frequently not working - are being relied upon.

I feel there is a lot more to be thought through here and perhaps the train operating companies who are clearly hoping to make higher profits by removing ticket offices, need to realise that 22 per cent of train tickets are bought at ticket offices by pensioners. 

Can they afford to lose our custom?