Local MP demands Government stops train station staff cuts

Following news that a train operator is consulting to cut working hours at stations in Hornsey and Wood Green, Lynne Featherstone MP has demanded the Government intervenes.

First Capital Connect plans to close ticket offices at Hornsey, Bowes Park, and Alexandra Stations on afternoons, evenings and weekends. They are currently consulting on the proposals until the 2nd February 2009.

As well as calling on local residents to respond to the consultation, the local MP has also written to Lord Adonis to investigate whether the move is lawful. This step follows an intervention earlier this week by the Transport Minister to stop South West Trains cutting staff at 114 stations in southern London and the south west because of concerns about passenger safety and security.

Ms. Featherstone has also tabled oral questions to the Secretary of Secretary for Transport, Geoff Hoon, demanding him to step him to stop the potential closures.

This announcement follows news that plans to provide passengers with access to Oyster Pay As You Go machines at these stations have not been finalised.

To respond to the consultation, local residents should send their comments to Lynne Featherstone’s office. Alternatively residents can send their comments directly to Passenger Focus, Freepost, RRRE-ETTC-LEET, PO Box 4257, Manchester, M60 3AR by the 2nd February.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“This move comes at the worst possible time – stations have already limited staffing, and they should consider increasing staffing hours, not cutting them further. With TfL still unwilling to commit on Oyster Pay As You Go, we risk ending up with fewer ticketing options, and fewer hours in which to get personal help at the stations.

“This is simply not acceptable. It’s now time the Government steps in and stops this outrageous suggestion from becoming reality.

“But I would also urge all local residents to send me their comments, so I can let First Capital Connect know just how unwelcome this move is.”

Cllr Martin Newton, Liberal Democrat Transport spokesperson adds:

“Passenger safety at these isolated stations is already a concern – without evening and weekend staff, this can only get worse.

“Not all journeys are straight forward and passengers need to be able to ask advice to avoid getting the wrong ticket and ending up with a penalty fare.”