I’M appalled at the news that the Government and rail industry have formally announced plans to close almost 1,000 ticket offices at stations across the country.

As a live-out student at Durham University who lives in Stockton-on-Tees with my family and relies on the train every single day as my primary source of transportation, this is a matter that is close to my heart.

Not being from the UK and not having English as my first language meant that, for me, getting used to the train was something that proved itself to be very difficult – we don’t have trains in Brazil, my home country, and public transportation is overall very unsafe.

That’s where the Thornaby ticket office has been a lifesaver for me many times: the staff are just so helpful and always go the extra mile to make sure my journeys will go as planned.

I wouldn’t trade the extra sense of security they provide for anything!

Plus, if ticket offices are closed, it will be devastating for disabled people, the elderly, people with learning difficulties, and many more people who rely on being able to speak to someone at a station in order to be able to get around. Losing staff at stations is crucial for access to information, to waiting rooms, to facilities – and has a big impact on safety.

Despite the massive implications for passengers, the rail companies and the Government are ploughing ahead.

I support the rail strikes, and I believe that ticket offices and station staffing need to be protected.

I encourage everyone to respond to the consultations and hope that the Government will see sense.

Vitor Pacheco, Stockton-on-Tees.