MP’s CONCERN OVER PROPOSED STATION CHANGES
Dulwich and West Norwood MP Helen Hayes has been meeting with local residents to discuss serious concerns about changes being proposed at local railway stations.
Just a few months into their new contract Govia Thameslink Railways Ltd (GTR) are proposing 84 station ticket office closures and reduced opening hours and services at other stations across the local area.
Residents are concerned that ticket office closures will make stations less safe and secure, less accessible and harder for passengers to access the cheapest tickets.
There is also considerable concern that the consultation period announced by Govia Thameslink is very short, and that many residents will not, therefore, have the opportunity to make their views known.
Stations impacted in Dulwich and West Norwood include Gipsy Hill, Loughborough Junction and Tulse Hill, as well as Denmark Hill and Peckham Rye which are just outside the constituency but serve many local residents.
Helen Hayes said “I want to hear from local residents across Dulwich and West Norwood about their views on these proposals.”
“I am very sceptical that the contract to run trains was awarded to Govia Thameslink just a short time ago and that already the company is proposing significant changes.
“At stations like Loughborough Junction, the changes are putting cost savings ahead of good customer service, and may make our stations less safe for passengers and staff. “The government’s plan for our railways is clearly failing.”
A GTR spokesperson told News From Crystal Palace: “Our plans are simply to modernise the way we operate approximately 80 of our busier stations to reflect the changing ways people now buy their tickets and to improve the service we give our passengers.
“We want our staff to become more available, for all users of the station, and ensure there is a visible presence on our station concourses, where they can help customers with all of their queries, provide information, offer assistance and have the ability sell tickets when needed, and at times of the day and days of the week when currently ticket offices are closed.
“As Station Hosts, they will be available to help passengers with all aspects of their journey, including helping to sell tickets from ticket machines and from their own handheld devices. “This will be for longer than ticket offices are currently open.
“The safety of our staff is one of our top priorities; we have an excellent safety record and will not undermine that. “We will risk assess all locations and take all steps necessary to provide our people with a safe working environment, as we do today.
“These stations will be staffed from the first train in the morning until the last at night, seven days a week. This will mean that important station facilities such as toilets and waiting rooms can also be available for longer.
“At busier stations, we will continue to staff ticket offices during the morning peak, with Station Hosts available on the concourse at quieter times.”
Govia’s website says it is a joint venture between the Go-Ahead Group (65 per cent) and Keolis (35pc), currently running three major rail franchises: GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway), Southeastern and London Midland. Govia says it is the UK’s busiest rail operator, currently providing around 35 pc of all passenger journeys.