I view with amazement Southern Rail’s thinking that running trains without guards will save money.
Forget money for a moment: the socially ‘misunderstood’ youths who attacked and ridiculed a mother, her children and other passengers (some of whom were disabled), is an ideal case of why an ‘official presence’ on trains is essential.
I hear guards will be replaced by people issuing ‘help and advice’ but I doubt they will have the legal backing of proper guards, regarding non-ticket holders.
Back to money.
There are ticket barriers at main railway stations: Ashford, Hastings, Eastbourne and London stations spring to mind.
But in between these the majority of stations have no barriers and are usually wide open on all side making it not an option on cost grounds to enclose them.
Similarly, it’s not economically viable to put a human being in place.
So, there is only the guard that can deter anyone travelling by train from unmanned station to unmanned station for free.
I’m quite sure a lot of car drivers and bus-pass holders will take little time to work out the possibilities and logistics.
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