RMT Press Office 7 November 2016.
Parliamentary answers reveal GTR/Southern’s plans for Driver Only Trains will increase the dangers and disadvantages faced by disabled and vulnerable passengers
Rail union RMT warned today that GTR Southern’s proposals for Driver Only Operation, which will remove the guarantee of a safety-critical conductor on trains, will further increase the dangers and disadvantages faced by disabled and vulnerable passengers at unstaffed stations as new parliamentary answers reveal over half of Southern stations are unstaffed or only staffed for some of the day.
The answers from Transport Minister Paul Maynard show that of a total of 156 stations on the Southern route, 35 are unstaffed, 53 are only staffed for some of the day whilst less than half (68) are always staffed. A full list of the stations are listed below.
Southern’s plans for Driver Only Operation will end the guarantee that a Conductor, in addition to the driver, will always be on the train to assist passengers with disabilities and to deter anti-social behaviour.
Instead Southern are proposing that in future trains will be able to leave with just the driver, which will clearly disadvantage passengers who require assistance, especially at unstaffed stations.
The Transport Select Committee recently raised concerns that no official impact assessment has been made of the potential effects of Driver Only Operation on disabled people’s access to the railway and disability campaigners have repeatedly warned that Driver Only Operated Trains will put GTR Southern in breach of equality legislation and obligations.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“GTR/Southern’s basket case franchise and its relentless drive for profit at the expense of the safety of the travelling public and rail workers needs to be brought to an end.
“Dozens of stations have now been revealed to have no staff at all and many more are only staffed part of the time. The relentless drive to remove conductors as well from the trains and the company’s refusal to sit down and settle the dispute shows the contempt that they hold for all concerned.
“Southern needs to be brought under public control so that safety and a service that everyone can access, not profit, is the main priority.”