Police and Southeastern launch latest stop and search at Belvedere station

British Transport Police working alongside Southeastern enforcement staff have launched the latest in a series of enforcement actions at Belvedere station.

These occur occasionally at stations and this site has covered a few in the past. As a daily user for years, I can count these actions I experienced on one hand.

However, are occasional actions effective given Southeastern Metro sees unstaffed stations and open stations for the vast majority of the time?

Plumstead station changes are planned

Belvedere is an open station with limited staffing. As are 90 per cent of stations on the line. Plumstead saw a one-off operation in 2019 that saw 123 people found without tickets.

Plumstead station rebuild does not mention gates, as presumably no one will pay either for those or staffing.

Staffing and barriers

Southeastern are also opening stations such as the recently completed Kidbrooke station without barriers and sufficient staffing. The DfT, Southeastern and Network Rail aren’t working together.

Barriers were featured in plans at Kidbrooke but pulled late on. Whenever I’ve been through seeing even one member of staff is far from guaranteed.

Stations with far fewer passengers per year on other franchises have seen stations open with staff and barriers. Cambridge North on Greater Anglia springs to mind. Barriers and staffing far more evident each time I’ve been.

That station had 950k passengers per year pre pandemic. Kidbrooke had 1.6 million – and numerous towers have completed since then, alongside many others now underway.

New homes beside Kidbrooke station. Station in foreground before completion

When Abbey Wood station was taken over by TfL and staffed from first to last train, counted passengers rose by up to 50 per cent compared to the prior year – and that was excluding those using paper tickets which the previous years’ numbers included.

Southeastern Metro is vastly different to staffing at most tube stations in London. Perhaps that’s why the Department for Transport are now so keen for TfL to enact cut (£300 million this year rising to £730 million by 2023) which will almost certainly see staffing reduced.

Another example of levelling down rather than up? Drag Tube station staffing down to Southeastern Metro levels rather than the other way around is perhaps what Grant Shapps seems to want? The DfT have failed rail users for years. It’s hard to escape the thought they now they want to extend that to all transport in London.

Of course, the more cuts and staffing are removed the more people will not pay. And the more incidents will occur that put people off public transport.

Then again, TfL havn’t helped themselves by spending money on Silvertown Tunnel – including £10 million compensation last week to a losing bidder after mistakes were made.

Southeastern Metro is clearly starved of investment in staffing – and has been for many years. The odd one-off actions seen at Belvedere and other areas doesn’t really detract from that.





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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

3 thoughts on “Police and Southeastern launch latest stop and search at Belvedere station

  • Let’s see, say a minimal increase in staff, about a dozen full time, verses a 50% increase in 1.6 million fares? Without being a mathemagician that seems like a lot of ‘found’ money to me.
    In these days of financial crisis, Grant Shapps should be looking for ways to increase Transport coffers, not reduce the ability of individual stations to collect that revenue. This simply boggles the mind.
    Let those who ride pay! The idea goes to the crux of fairness, consumerism, and just plain common sense. Let’s not reach into the Taxpayer’s pocket to subsidise a concern that can support itself with good business management skills.

  • It’s still worth not paying for most, as if found on 1 out of 100 trips it’s a £20 fine.

    Until staffing and barriers are far more widespread it’s not worth getting a ticket – well that’s how many see it.

    To be honest, it’s not even hard to justify morally as the government insist on charging more for a zonal fare than an equivalent TfL fare. Then again Shapps probably wants to ramp those up too.

  • What the **** is wrong with this Govt? They talk the talk but don’t walk the walk (or should we include ‘don’t ride the train’.) Investment is what will get people back to PT,- better services, more reliable, more punctual, more comfortable, lower fares, and safer stations with more staff to collect fares and penalise the dodgers, who honest citizens are subsidising-and that is SO wrong. This is no eco-friendly Govt, they’re just riding the gravy train of power at our expense.


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