Unstaffed stations will threaten disabled people’s ability to travel
Added: 8 September 2011 | Updated: 13 September 2011
Older and disabled people may be left without any assistance at ninety four London stations if proposals to cut station staff go ahead.
Under recommendations being considered by the Government, stations across the country may be left without staff. This would severely compromise many disabled and older people’s ability to travel independently.
The McNulty review, which examines the future of the UK’s railways, suggests closing 675 ticket offices across the country, cutting up to 1,000 ticket office jobs. On many stations, ticket office staff are the only staff available, potentially leaving the station unstaffed.
Last year, Transport for All, together with unions, demonstrated outside City Hall at the Mayor’s decision to cut the jobs of 650 station staff and leave ticket offices unstaffed through much of the day. Complaints from disabled people about arriving at unstaffed stations and being unable to buy a ticket; or being left stranded without assistance to disembark from a train, are becoming more widespread.
Sallyanne Currie lives in Haringey and frequently travels to Crawley and Redhill to see family. She said: “It’s about safety. If you are travelling, if there’s a member of staff there, you know you’ll be secure, you know you can talk to a member of staff if something is not right. If those ticket offices close, it will make it difficult for my son to get up to London. It would affect us in a big way.“
Gaps between platforms and trains mean that many wheelchair users require staff assistance to board or disembark from a train. Without the confidence that a member of staff will be available, some disabled people will be unable to travel solo. Transport for All believe it’s unacceptable that wheelchair users could be left unable to travel independently.
Blind and visually impaired people too risk being left unable to travel independently at unfamiliar stations if no staff are available to assist or guide.
A report from Scope recently showed that more than half of disabled people say they have experienced hostility, aggression or violence from a stranger because of their condition or impairment (56%); and 47% had experienced some form of discrimination on public transport.
Fear of harassment and abuse will only rise if stations are left unstaffed, and disabled and older people forced to wait on empty platforms.
- How will you be affected by unstaffed stations? Have you already encountered stations without any available staff?
Please let us know by the end of September: we will include your responses in a letter to Transport Minister Philip Hammond, and with your permission, publish some on our website.
A list of the stations in London which may be left unstaffed is below. A full list of UK ticket office closures recommended in the McNulty review can be found here.
Byfleet and New Haw
Caledonian Road & Barnesbury
Castle Bar Park
Elephant & Castle
Finchley Road & Frognal
Harringay Green Lanes
Kentish Town West
Kilburn High Road
Leyton Midland Road
Leytonstone High Road
Walthamstow Queens Road
White Hart Lane