More than 750 people have now signed a petition in opposition to plans that would shut Taunton's railway ticket office.

A public consultation over the plans ended last Friday, after being extended because of an outcry.

The petition was launched by the Liberal Democrats who have been campaigning to keep the ticket office open.

Gideon Amos, the parliamentary candidate for Taunton and Wellington said: "I’m delighted that so many people came to the public meeting I arranged to oppose the closure of our ticket office at Taunton station and am even more delighted that a total of 765 people have signed the petition which we have submitted today.

“I will now be focusing on winning this battle over the coming months and, if necessary, years. With full and final closure of our ticket office scheduled for the end of 2024, we have time to keep fighting to ensure the government’s decision is overturned.

“It’s therefore one of the issues I will be taking to voters at the ballot box when I stand in the next General Election, and if elected, is an issue which I, and I know Liberal Democrat MPs from across the country, will fight for very hard indeed.”

The area's current member of parliament, Rebecca Pow, also waded in on the issue. She said: “I’ve received hundreds of letters and emails from constituents about the proposed changes to ticket offices at our rail stations, especially in relation to our own Taunton station. 

"I frequent Taunton station on a regular basis and I have engaged with staff working there to understand what the proposed changes might mean here. I have also been in discussions with GWR to stress the importance of having staff available to handle individual queries and help with ticket purchases and they have assured me that Taunton station will remain staffed for the same hours as it is today. 

"I also made representations to extend the time scale of the consultation to give more of my constituents time to feed in their views and was pleased it was extended until the beginning of this month. I have also been assured that there is no change at all to the station opening times, and there will be no changes to access for waiting rooms, toilets and lifts.

"In my capacity as the local MP I have also been able to make direct representations to the Rail Minister and the Secretary of State for Transport to convey the points that my constituents have made to me. I have pointed out that local people want staff to be on hand at the station to offer advice on tickets/journeys and to help buy tickets through the Ticket Vending Machines or digitally where appropriate.

"This kind of service is invaluable in many ways, especially for those not comfortable with changing technologies but also to ensure consumers are not spending more than they need to when trying to navigate the ticketing system. Taunton is a much used station and I am proud to have been involved in securing significant investment to upgrade it since I have been the MP, working closely with all stakeholders. 

"This includes the new multi-storey car park and junction improvements. Passenger numbers continue to hold up well post-Covid19 and it is important that the station can service its customers well to ensure a sustainable future. I will continue to play my role as the local MP, representing my constituents to ensure their voices are heard at the top level of Government, as I have done since these proposed plans were first announced.”