Today the Public Transport Users Association is calling on Auckland Mayor Phil Goff to stand up to Auckland Transport and Transdev (the train operator) and defend train passengers’ safety.
AT Metro and Transdev have put in place plans to remove Train Managers from all Auckland passenger trains in July. The PTUA believe this is putting passengers’ safety in jeopardy for what certainly looks like cost cutting.
Train Managers are fully trained for emergencies and have skills unique to the rail operation. AT Metro and Transdev are replacing them with lower level “Traffic Warden” type staff who lack the full training required to be a Train Manager.
Under the cost cutting plan many trains will operate with no-one on board to help passengers in case of a disturbance or emergency. The train driver will remain locked in the drivers’ cabs and will not be able to intervene. “This should be of major concern to females, elderly, the disabled and generally all law-abiding passengers who catch trains” Jon Reeves, Coordinator of the PTUA said.
The PTUA understands the Rail and Maritime Transport Union have highlighted the safety deficiencies of the plan to Auckland Transport. Jon Reeves added “We are seriously concerned about the safety angle and the effects it will have on train passengers. I personally witnessed a disturbance on a weekday train at around 8am travelling from Parnell to Britomart in December. Thankfully the Train Manager quickly intervened and what looked like a gang member quickly stopped harassing passengers for money and swearing.
The point the PTUA is making is that all the data modelling in the world cannot factor in rogue elements and passenger emergencies on Auckland Trains. If they remove Train Managers it will be up to passengers to protect themselves with no back up what so ever.”
Today PTUA members and supporters will be at key railways stations handing out flyers to passengers to make them aware that their safety is going to be put in jeopardy by AT Metro and Transdev. Reeves said “We’ll also be asking passengers to fill in a short Train Safety Questionnaire so we can determine if we will hold a major public meeting about passenger safety in March.” Train passengers can also fill the questionnaire below.
The Mayor, Chair of Auckland Transport, AT Metro and Transdev management would be invited to the public meeting to hear from train passengers. “Ironically this plan to make trains less safe for passengers has never gone to public consultation. So we’ll bring the public to them so they can get a real gauge on this situation” Reeves said.
The PTUA may also invite the Minister of Transport, Phil Twyford, as the NZ Transport Agency has the power to veto the Auckland Transport plan to reduce train passenger safety.
The PTUA is a voluntary, non-politically aligned transport lobby supporting both current and future public transport users.
Facebook: Public Transport Users Association-NZ