Inconveniences of SydneyTrains

Train arriving at Milsons' Point

‘‘The governments come to power making all sorts of promises, but all they’ve really done is spent a lot of money on rebranding and putting people in new uniforms and cutting jobs left right and centre,’’ the NSW branch secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, Alex Claassens, said.

I can't get over how right this comment is, and plenty of people can see this is true. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that 'ticket-sellers' at stations will be losing their jobs.

Just this morning as I waited to catch the train, a very pleasant and polite Asian man came up to me and presented me with a survey on his iPad. He asked me about how often I took the train, how often I interacted with station staff and about my satisfaction across several areas, including staff presence, and the helpfulness of information. We finished in the nick of time as the train arrived.

Not just ticket-sellers, but customer service staff

As Labour transport spokeswoman, Penny Sharpe, says, these staff are not only ticket-sellers, but they are also customer service staff. In my and my friends' dealings with station staff, most times they have been helpful, and quite tolerant and patient in their handling of often rude and even abusive people.

However it's to be expected that this isn't always the case at some stations, where staff are often absent (in some cases, more concerned with leaf blowing than helping their 'customers' in a long line at the ticket machine), and sometimes even borderline-rude or abrupt in return to polite inquiries.

In the same breath, SydneyTrains isn't giving the staff much to work with either, as station staff are often as clueless as, or even more so, than we commuters, restricting their helpfulness to us even if they want to.

With SydneyTrains now forcing sales at ticket windows and restricting purchase from ticket machines to adult tickets, what kind of impact will this have for those needing these tickets that are heading to places still waiting for the Opal Card rollout without sufficient staff on-hand to cater to this need?