Sunday, June 15, 2008
Proposed Ticket Office Cuts SWT
A union has criticised plans to cut ticket office hours at 114 train stations. South West Trains (SWT), which runs train stations throughout most of south west London and parts of Surrey, says it has commenced consultation on reducing the opening hours of lesser used ticket offices. If the plans are accepted it will mean a loss of 118 posts - but the company says there will be no compulsory redundancies. But Britain's biggest rail union, the RMT, said it would vigorously oppose the plans saying they put passengers and staff at risk. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "Railway staff and passengers alike need to see more staff on stations and trains, not fewer, and cutting ticket offices should not be an option. "There are already too few staff on stations, but if these plans are allowed to go ahead we will see even more ticket offices closed at weekends and in the evenings, leaving even more stations deserted of staff. “There are already too few staff on stations, but if these plans are allowed to go ahead we will see even more ticket offices closed at weekends and in the evenings, leaving even more stations deserted of staff." "That means a worse service, but it also means more danger of assault, both for our members and for people travelling alone at night. "South West Trains is putting its profits ahead of service and safety, and I would urge passengers to tell South West Trains that they will not accept any further cuts in station staffing." In a statement SWT said the way people bought their tickets had changed dramatically in recent years with more than 40 per cent now being bought from machines. "We are not proposing to close any ticket offices completely, just to adjust the hours of those where it is not commercially viable to keep them open during quiet periods. In some cases these offices may be selling less than 10 tickets an hour," the statement said.