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‘Greed behind railway cut’

Posted by on 22/07/2018

CUTS inopening hours at Albury trainstation’s ticket office signify“corporate greed”, mayor Kevin Mack says.

NSW Trainlinkslashed the office’s trading time to two hours a day before reacting to anger from the community and extending openings to 9am-11am and 12.30pm-2.45pm from Monday.

The plummet in opening hours followedcutbacks in Trainlink staff at the station and a push to have passengers buy tickets online.

Cr Mack acknowledgedit was “cheaper and more economically viable” to foster web sales, but those without online access suffered.

“It’s basically a cost-saving to the (Trainlink) corporation, but it’s not necessarily a great outcome for the community,” Cr Mack said.

Left stranded: Howlong pensioner Judy Wilkins, who traveled by XPT to a family wedding this week, was forced to wait in Albury for three hours to buy her train ticket after being caught by reduced ticket office opening hours. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

“That to me is the bigger balance here, community need versus corporate greed and really the government is doing less and less to service their community every day.

“The state of the rail line is evidence of that, I think it’s unfair.”

Member for Albury Greg Aplin was among those critical of the reduction in opening hours, saying Trainlink management had assured him of a presence at the station during talks onstaff cuts.

Rail insiders told The Border Mail that Mr Aplin should not have been shocked atsuch a drastic change, based onthe drop in staff.

The station has gone fromseven full-timers and one part-timer to two full-timers, two part-timers and area customer service manager.

Cr Mack said the changes also raised safety concerns.

“People feel safe when the ticket offices are open, so if something happens they’veactually got somewhere to go,” he said.

“From that perspective it isolates the people that are using the facility and using the platform.”

Howlong passenger Judy Wilkins was affectedlast week.

She arrived just after the office shut at11am sostayedin Albury until its 2pm reopening to buy her XPT ticket.

“I knew the problem was happening but I hadn’t seen any notification of the change of hours and while I was here several people came in,” Mrs Wilkins said.

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