During the course of my career, I have often had to commute to work. This was mainly by car but there were spells when it was more appropriate to use public transport, specifically trains.

Before the pandemic, I was working in Manchester and the train commute was the least worst option, although there were some cold mornings on grossly overcrowded trains when I would cheerfully have swapped the rush hour crush to be in my car, stuck in traffic on the M62.

Being completely honest, those trips to and from Manchester were not happy experiences and it very much felt at the time that the system was only just about managing to function.

My complaints were not unique – cancelled trains, late arriving trains, dirty, old rolling stock and short-formed trains with passengers crammed in. Sometimes they were so packed the concept of personal space was just a bad joke.

But there was one thing you could always rely on – helpful staff in the ticket office at Central Station.

It strikes me that for a system which seems on the verge of collapse, closing ticket offices will be the last straw.

While the ticket office at Warrington Central is one of a small number proposed to remain open, its opening hours are to be reduced from 15 to 12 hours a day from Monday to Saturday and from 12 to eight hours a day on Sundays.

We should be thankful for small mercies that Warrington Central is earmarked to be saved but that is scant consolation for the users of Warrington Bank Quay, Warrington West, Birchwood and Glazebrook stations should the closures go ahead.

Warrington Borough Council has already submitted its formal consultation response which sets out its opposition, highlighting the ‘damaging impact it would have on passengers, in particular many vulnerable and elderly residents who would lose the assistance they rely on to travel independently’.

There can be little doubt the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) wanted to railroad the closures through when it launched a meager three-week consultation in July on plans its plans for the removal of 1,007 ticket offices across England within three years – combined with huge reductions in the hours of coverage of staff – as part of plans to ‘modernise the railway’.

The consultation was originally due to end on July 26, but following widespread objections to the short consultation period, RDG has extended the consultation until Friday, September 1.

So time is running out to lodge your objections. If you want to have your say, do a web search for Ticket office closures - Transport Focus.

This is something worth fighting for.

On another work-related topic, I was interested to read that IWG, an international provider of ‘hybrid working solutions’ is opening a site in Warrington.

This is an impressive vote of confidence in Warrington as well as in the co-working property sector and is a clear signal that ‘hybrid working’ either from home or from a nearby satellite location rather than a city centre office is here to stay.

As Mark Dixon, CEO and founder of IWG, says: “As an important business hub in the north west, Warrington is a fantastic place for us to boost our expansion plans.

“The need for high-quality, flexible workspaces continues to soar as hybrid working becomes the new normal.

“Our opening in Warrington comes at a time when more and more companies are discovering that flexible working boosts employee happiness and satisfaction, while helping the environment.”

And let’s face it, who doesn’t want happy employees?

The fact that co-working spaces such as the one planned by IWG are becoming popular again would appear to be a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Millions of people – including me – were forced to work from home during coronavirus lockdowns and while many of us were happy with the solitude and isolation, many couldn’t wait to get back to the office for the ‘banter’ and human interactions.

But working from home also removed the grind of the dreaded commute which is where local co-working spaces come into their own, providing the social interaction some people feel the need to have while making the journey into work much shorter.

What’s not to like?

In any event, I wish IWG all the very best for the future.