Definitions

closure by compartment

Closure by stealth

Closure by stealth is a term most frequently used in the UK and Ireland to refer to the deliberate downgrading of a service by the management or owners with the intention of driving away users or customers. The aim is to make the service uneconomical, and thereby justify its closure or withdrawal.

The classic examples of closure by stealth involve railway services. These are often regulated at some level by local or national government, and the only way the owner can withdraw such a service is by demonstrating that the local population no longer needs that service. By degrading the quality of the service, scheduling trains to run at inconvenient times or frequencies (known as parliamentary train services), and by raising fares, transport operators can force passengers to take other modes of transport, justifying the view of the service owner that the service is no longer required (a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy)

Besides railway services, apparent closures by stealth have been observed in other services as well, such as hospitals, post offices, and magistrate courts.

References

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