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Media Release


Where are the humans?

Unstaffed stations dangerous, say users

The Public Transport Users Association has called for 22 train stations to be upgraded to Premium status.

PTUA Secretary Vaughan Williams said that station staff were vital for passengers to feel safe, and would also assist with ticket sales and passenger information.

"Since ticket sales staff were replaced with machines, the number of people not buying tickets has increased significantly. Many of these people do so not because they're trying to cheat the system, but because they don't have the correct change, they cannot understand the machines, or the machines have broken down or been vandalised," said Mr Williams.

"We believe a return to the days when a passenger could arrive at a station knowing they could buy a ticket from a human being when they got there and feel confident they wouldn't be a victim of crime is long overdue."

"Our members are telling us that they don't feel safe using public transport, particularly at night. Crime statistics bear this out - a disproportionate number of serious assaults and robberies happen on public transport."

Mr Williams called for the Bracks government's promise of 100 additional station staff to be delivered without further delay.

"Redeploying the 100 publicly funded inspectors as station staff would cover at least two dozen additional staffed stations."

"There should be no haves and have-nots in public transport. Staffing more stations from first to last train should help passengers feel safer, reduce fare evasion and increase patronage," concluded Mr Williams.


Isolated railway stations have been ranked on surveys as one of the most feared locations for Melbourne travellers.

In 2000/01, 5% of assaults and 10% of robberies took place on public transport, when the average citizen spends only about 1% of their time on public transport. In recent years, drug use on the system has also become a problem, with the obvious hazard of discarded syringes.

The 1991 Met Ticketing Taskforce charged with reviewing the public transport ticketing system recommended:

  • Full staffing of the system - all stations staffed first to last train, conductors on all trams except routes and times with low patronage and no security problems
  • Automated ticketing as a supplement, not replacement for staff issue of tickets
  • Automation of 'back office' functions
  • It specifically recommended against:

    • Replacement of staff with ticket machines
    • Requirement to validate every boarding

    These recommendations were ignored when the current, failed, Metcard system was introduced.

    The following stations are those we propose to be upgraded:

    Altona, Canterbury, Diamond Creek, Fairfield, Ferntree Gully, Glenhuntly, Heathmont, Hoppers Crossing, Huntingdale, Jolimont, Keilor Plains, Lalor, Mentone, Middle Brighton, Moonee Ponds, Noble Park, Nunawading, Pascoe Vale, Prahran, Rosanna, Victoria Park and Yarraville.

    PTUA Office 9650 7898

    Page not found | Public Transport Users Association (Victoria, Australia)

    Last Modified: 07 November 2002