As rail strikes continue in Greater Manchester the RMT, which represents many rail workers, claims that some unstaffed rail stations could become crime hotspots if plans to remove guards from some trains goes ahead.
The RMT press statement says there are 330 unstaffed stations around the country – around 30 in Greater Manchester. Is it right to intervene asking for guards to be retained or should the deal be left to the rail companies, in theory helping them to keep rail travel costs lower?
Hazel Grove Station is staffed with the ticket office open till early evening in the week:
The press statement continues:
Although these stations are currently unstaffed, protection and assistance for passengers and the train driver at stations is provided by the Guard who is on all trains.
Northern is planning for at least 50% of services to have no Guards with many lines and routes completely unstaffed. RMT is warning that removing the guard from trains which will then also travel through 330 unstaffed stations will result in a cocktail of dangers where passengers and the train driver are more exposed to crime and anti – social behaviour while disabled and older passengers will not be able to get on and off the train when they wish to.
“No staff on many routes and lines, no staff on the stations and no staff on the trains travelling through these stations means there will be a cocktail of dangers at the locations we have identified which will increasingly become no-go areas for vulnerable passengers and new crime hot spots. At the same time our isolated drivers will be on their own, increasingly exposed to anti-social and violent behaviour.
“As well as these dangers there will be also be disadvantages for disabled and older passengers who require assistance because there will be no one there to help them on and off the train or provide assistance during their journey.