Under these proposals, the stations included will be staffed from the first to the last trains, seven days a week. The staffing level will be reviewed on a station-by-station basis and forms part of the internal consultation so these are not confirmed currently. At some stations, staffing levels will increase, whilst at others there may be fewer staff overall but we will deploy staff differently to meet the passenger demand. The station host will be multi-skilled to cover a range of roles such as ticket selling, gateline and hosting ticket machines. Our current way of working does not allow that flexibility and restricts the service we can offer. We are discussing these changes with the relevant unions and they are part of the ongoing staff consultation which will include items such as working hours.
The safety of our staff is a key priority and the stations teams will undertake a risk assessment and will review the operating plan at each station to take all steps necessary to provide a safe working environment, as we do currently. This will include assessments for cash handing.
The machine capability will depend on the station. For model 1 stations, fewer than 12 tickets an hour are sold from the ticket office with the vast majority of passengers using alternative methods such as smartcards or ticket machines. At these stations, the Station Host will have a hand held ticket device and will be able to sell all of our most popular tickets. A small number of tickets won’t be available because there is very little demand for them, but these will still be available alternatively e.g. through our website. At stations in model 2 or 3, such as Carshalton and Wallington, the Station Host will be able to sell all tickets currently on sale at the ticket office.
The plan is to modernise our stations to reflect the changing way people now buy their tickets and to improve the service we give our passengers. We want our staff to become more available and ensure there is a visible presence on our station concourses. On the concourse, they can help customers with all of their queries, provide information, offer assistance and have the ability sell tickets when needed, and at times of the day and days of the week when currently ticket offices are closed.
We appreciate that this is a significant change for some of our station teams and they will be supported through the process so that we can provide this more modern retail experience for passenger.