A consultation has been launched on plans to close tickets offices with Southeastern confirming staff will be cut at some stations.
The government-run company has been reducing staff numbers for some time with dozens of stations left unstaffed each day since at least 2021. That’s above and beyond already limited staffing at numerous stations.
Today the company have put up a page on proposals which are the result of government demands from the Department for Transport and Treasury, which state that for medium and larger stations:
“Overall, these stations will have fewer staff but they will be better able to support our customers following enhanced training and being empowered to assist people face-to-face.”
They do however also state that “at 18 of these smaller stations, where vacancies have resulted in a temporarily unstaffed station, these stations will be restaffed as staff are deployed where they are most needed.”
Perhaps one to take with a pinch of salt long term, as there was never any consultation on those 18 becoming unstaffed “temporarily” in the first place.
One wonders after redeployment how many other “temporary” short staffing issues will then arise. And the company do state: “We’ve been open that there is a cost saving element to this”.
They also claim a longer staff presence at some stations, though others see little improvement and those making decisions appear not to realise changing local factors.
Woolwich Dockyard, for example, remains unstaffed most of the time despite a large number of new homes being built in the vicinity.
The bigger question is do Southeastern recover by continual cuts which can drive people away, or putting on a service that brings about recovery?
For Southeastern and SE Metro, they’re badly lagging various TfL modes of transport in recovering revenue and passenger numbers.
Each day the Southeastern network already sees short staffing which far exceeds 18 stations mentioned by the company, with around 30 stations on average listed. Sometimes it’s as high as 50 stations short-staffed on a given day.
The Department for Transport-owned company have lacked funds to hire staff or maintain even relatively low levels of staffing compared to other networks.
Today we again see dozens of stations impacted. What is proposed nationally of closing ticket offices seems to have been happening at Southeastern for some time already – but not with staff redeployed. Instead with the end result of unstaffed stations.
Note, none of these stations below listed today – and this is but a fraction – are among those 18 that have been “temporarily” left unstaffed (often for some time) and would see additional staffing.
The destiny of most stations across the country?
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