Independent North of Tyne Mayor, Jamie Driscoll, responding to government announcement to scrap plans to close ticket offices, said:
“The government has finally done the right thing by stopping the ticket office closures. It was a ludicrous idea from the start – excluding people with disabilities and leaving stations unstaffed and unsafe.
“Make no mistake, this U-turn is down to the hard work and organisation of trade unions and campaigners, especially disability activists, and I was proud to campaign with them.
“It’s a clear message that public services must be run on the basis of long-term need, not short-term greed.
“We need to change direction. We cannot tackle the climate crisis and the cost-of-living crisis without a safe, cheap and reliable rail system – that requires investment and an end to private profiteering.
“In 2020 I went to the Treasury to ensure we got significant transport funding included in our new North East Devolution Deal. I don’t want us to be at the mercy of any government. I want us to control our own destiny and build a Total Transport Network across the region – with integrated ticketing, reliable services, cheap tickets and free travel for all under-18s.”