National Express travel shops to close by end of October

National Express travel shops across the Black Country are set to be axed in response to changes to the way people buy tickets, the firm has announced.

The Birmingham, Coventry, Walsall, West Bromwich and Dudley travel shops will all close on October 29.

People are currently able to use the shops to buy and collect tickets, get travel information, access travel discounts and for various other reasons.

But National Express West Midlands said fewer people were visiting the shops due to a rise in online purchasing.

The firm says it promises to increase the level of support given to customers online and over the phone.

Customers unsure how they will get their timetables following the closure are urged to ask at the customer desk for support.

A statement from National Express West Midlands said: "Over the past few years the retail landscape on the high street has changed dramatically with more and more people buying online or through mobile apps. This rate of change has accelerated during the pandemic.

"As a result of these changes we will be increasing the level of support we give customers online, at our ticket agents, via Payzone, and on the phone.

"But at the same time we have taken the difficult decision to close our travel shops.

"A massive thank you goes out to everyone in the travelshop team who have gone above and beyond so many times over the years for our customers.

"The past 18 months have been especially challenging, but to successfully reopen, keeping both customers and each other safe has been nothing short of fantastic.

"There are many other ways you can buy your bus travel or get timetable information, please ask for details on your next visit.

"Over the next two weeks our travelshop teams are helping customers who use the shops to understand all of the alternative options available to them. We’ve produced a really simple and clear illustrated step-by-step guide with detailed information about how customers can get information and tickets without needing to go to a travelshop.

"We have worked closely with all employees affected by the closures and supported them throughout a consultation period. Other roles within National Express West Midlands were available for every employee working in the travelshops and nobody has been made forcibly redundant.

“Some people have decided to take the redundancy package that we offered. Some people will move to other roles within National Express - mostly still within customer services.”

But the move has prompted concern from those who use the travel shops.

One man, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “What are people supposed to do when they close, where will they get their timetables from?

“I haven't got a computer, and I'm sure there are a lot of people like myself who do not.

“My take on it is everyone should be able to go into that office and get the timetable.”

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