COMMUNITY activists in Port Glasgow are railing against controversial plans to shut a train station ticket office and slash opening hours at the town's main hub.

Tommy Rodger, secretary of Port Glasgow West Community Council, says he has been inundated with complaints about ScotRail's plan to close Woodhall's booking office and substantially reduce times at Port station.

The operators also want to shut the ticket booth at Cartsdyke and leave Greenock Central, Greenock West, Gourock and Wemyss Bay unstaffed at points every day of the week.

Mr Rodger says the community council opposes the move and has written to local MSPs Stuart McMillan, Labour's Neil Bibby and Tory Jamie Greene to raise objections, as well as councillors.

He has also written to the minister for transport Graeme Dey, demanding that he and the Scottish Parliament reject the closures and changes to opening hours of rail ticket offices.

Mr Rodger said: "These ticket offices are not just for ticket sales.

"They are information kiosks, they provide times of trains, ongoing connections and times for the return journeys.

"This is particularly true for older people, many do not have computers, nor know how to access timetables.

"Even having access to a rail timetable can be complicated and this is where the face to face contact with rail staff becomes essential.

"We are already concerned about the number of patients being required to travel to hospitals in Glasgow and Paisley.

"The closure of ticket offices creates another hurdle for patients seeking to travel by public transport.

"These closures will also create another barrier for passengers who should be encouraged to use public transport, instead of cars.

"Public transport should be made easier to access, not more difficult.

"These proposed cuts will deter people from bothering to use the train."

Mr Rodger says he has been encouraged by the response of local politicians.

He said: "Councillor David Wilson, who is the vice-chair of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport will raise our concerns, Councillor Stephen McCabe, council leader, will discuss the issue with his chief executive and Neil Bibby MSP has raised concerns at Holyrood while Stuart McMillan is seeking a meeting with representatives of both SPT and ScotRail."

The proposed new opening times at Port Glasgow Station are Monday to Thursday 6.30am to 6pm, Friday 6.45am to 7pm, Saturday 6.15am to 7.30pm and 11.15am to 1.45pm on Sundays.

Mr Rodger stressed that his community council could only speak on the Woodhall and Port Glasgow changes but he hopes other activists across the area will protest about cuts elsewhere in the district.

He said: "We would encourage our colleagues in neighbouring community councils and all other local community based groups to comment in the ScotRail survey before it closes on the second of February."

Anyone who wants to access the survey should visit