A government report has recommended cutting 100 per cent of staff from small train stations across the country. In Hackney this would mean the removal of all ticket office staff at Hackney Wick, Homerton, Rectory Road, Stamford Hill and Stoke Newington stations.
There could also be partial cuts at the larger Hackney Central and Dalston Kingsland stations, if the advice put forward in the McNulty report is taken by the Department for Transport.
Homerton station staff were unaware of the proposals to cut their jobs. One worker, who asked not to be identified, was confident their presence at the station wouldn’t be cut, saying: “It is busy here, they won’t actually cut us, maybe the quieter stations will suffer though.”
However, Homerton station is a category E station, and the report clearly recommends “the closure of all category E station ticket offices”. To read the full report, click here.
EastLondonLines visited the busy Homerton station this weekend in off-peak hours. In just twenty minutes the staff assisted many people, including those unsure about rail replacement buses, people confused about their ticket purchase, and people in need of advice on train routes. Even children who had run ahead of their parents on the platform were helped by one attendant, who prevented them from running off.
Max, 33, a caterer from Homerton, was appalled at the possibility of a total cut. He said: “It is ridiculous that as prices are rising they have to cut the staff. They need more staff not fewer.”
O.G., 35, a local Homerton rapper added: “It is wrong, of course it is going to cause problems.”
A community coalition is launching a campaign against the proposed cuts in Hackney. A spokesperson for Together for Transport, a founding member of the community coalition, said: “We do not want to go back to the bad old days of unreliable trains and dangerous train stations.”
A TfL spokesman said: “The staffing of Hackney Wick and Homerton stations is a matter for TfL, not the Department for Transport. We have always committed to staffing our stations at all times while services are operating, and that commitment remains.”
There will be a public meeting at The Old Fire Station, 61 Leswin Road in Stoke Newington at 6.30pm on December 12 to discuss the proposals and plan a community response. The meeting will be addressed by speakers from the TSSA rail union, John Thornton of Hackney Disability Backup, Labour GLA member Jennette Arnold and a Green Party representative.