We have been contatced by local residents cocnerned that some of our local train stations have been reported as being threatened with losing their staffing. Our contacts at the GLA tell us that:
Ticket office staff arrangements are enshrined in the train operators franchise agreements with DfT and can only be altered with DfT approval. Southeastern categorically tell me that they have no plans to close any ticket offices during their current franchise (which runs to 2014).
Also, in the case of Penge West and Anerley – these are now run by London Overground/TfL and the franchise agreement states that stations must be staffed while train services are running.
It seems unlikely that there would be any mucking about with current franchise arrangements. However, the government are going to make a decision about how to take the McNulty recommendations forward later this year, so we don’t really know any more until then. McNulty recommends that TOC’s review their staffing arrangements to see where savings could be made early next year. However, as far as London goes, they also recommend gating more stations to reduce fare evasion – the report reckons this could increase revenue by £270k a year. If you are going to gate a station, you need staff to monitor it or the gates have to be left open, which defeats the object.
So, we need to watch this space, but it could be that changes are a way off yet.