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More excuses to make people unemployed are being made again. This time, train conductors. Seriously. In response to the strike of people who, you know, want to keep their jobs, Southern Railways have sent out a letter that has threatened to remove the standard rights for any workers, such as sick-pay and eligibility not work on a Sunday. It’s an idea that has many more flaws than gains. In fact, it just looks like they are experimenting with new ways to vacuum conductor’s wallets.
The train’s journey is a two-way operation. The conductor is the presence amongst the passengers whilst the driver concentrates solely on the tracks. Taking out the conductor and dropping the entire responsibility of the locomotive on the driver is a ridiculous idea. It would be impossible for the driver to oversee every procedure required to be carried out over the entire train: door operation, passenger enquiry, safety. Sure, if a tight barrier security system can be constructed at EVERY station, also assuming that there are no hiccups in tickets not working or barriers malfunctioning. Maybe. However, even if barriers were built at every station, which would cost an unexaggerated billions of investment, they will still need supervision, which would cost even more and, consequently, would drain considerably more money than it would to just carry on paying the conductors. It’s a lot of effort and finance to put in just to get rid of, yet again, more people’s jobs.
And who would intervene with any sudden outbursts or incidents in the coaches without the conductor? There are so many incidents with medical emergencies, aggressive passengers, people on the tracks the train has to stop for as they threaten suicide. When these incidents occur during a long distance between stations, there’s no one else but the general public to deal with those situations without the conductors.
First of all, I’d have to oppose any debate about a lack of communication between conductor and passenger, at least the opportunity for a passenger to speak to the conductor when they need to. I see passengers regularly having to buy tickets from the conductor as either they didn’t get time to buy the ticket before the train arrived or their station hasn’t been equipped with a ticket-purchasing facility, particularly stations in the Seaford/Eastbourne areas. Many queries and concerns are voiced to the conductors on the services I’m on and, as far I’ve seen, the conductor is in regular contact with the public: there’s never any kind of social block between commuter and conductor. They literally come into contact with everyone to check their tickets.
Any reason why communication may lack is, essentially, on the part of the more uptight commuters who aim to ignore the conductor as much as they can whilst still holding up their ticket. The conductor communicates whenever they are required as that is their job. Not just communicating with passengers, but also with the drivers.

LINK – Strike threatened, Southern Railway accused of intimidation.