By Michael Sergel
Auckland train station may get extra staff to make up for a removal of staff on trains.
Newstalk ZB has revealed about 160 on-board train managers could be replaced by a smaller number of transport officers. Auckland Transport (AT) has confirmed some trains may be staffed only by a train driver in a locked cabin.
But public transport development project manager Melissa Melrose said busier stations will be fully staffed, and have electronic ticket gates and security surveillance.
"These ticket gates are going to help reduce fare evasion. People going through the gates are going to have to pay for a ticket, whether by using a Hop card or a paper ticket."
"We're going to have each of the gate lines manned while the station is open, and we're going to have a paid and unpaid side, and more CCTV cameras."
AT said about a third of train stations would have electronic gates by this time next year.
"Otahuhu Station was one of the first to get the gates and will be followed by Henderson, Manurewa, Papatoetoe, Middlemore, Parnell, Papakura and Glen Innes stations. Gates are already in at Britomart, Newmarket, New Lynn and Manukau."
Two thirds of train stations would not be fully staffed and gated, including most of the stations on the Western Line.
Transport officers may also be given the power to issue penalty notices to fare evaders, under a law change set to pass next month.
Metro operations group manager Brendon Main said the new officers would initially work on the Western Line, and were likely to be extended across the rail network.
"We think having staff on the trains with legal powers will help make the trip safer and more comfortable for all our passengers. We think they will deter anyone who thinks they can travel without a ticket."
Main said transport officers, along with other staff, would help with emergency management, working closely with police and transport operators, including the passenger rail operator Transdev Auckland.
Rail and Maritime Transport Union Auckland organiser Stu Johnstone said Auckland Transport should consider keeping train managers.
He said they play a critical role during emergencies, breakdowns, level-crossing incidents, and when people need first aid.
"It's the train manager on board every train that takes responsibility for every passenger on board the train. Without that train manager there, we have real concerns about what would happen."
Consultation between AT, Transdev Auckland and the union are ongoing.