LETTER: Putting profits before people

I read with dismay the story of a disabled person stranded at Hampden Park Railway Station [Herald, January 13]. Sadly, if Southern Rail implement their ultimate plan, to shut booking offices and get rid of guards, we will hear more horror stories like this.

The press points the finger at rail staff and unions as troublemakers, but the current strike action is the result of a gradual decline in services and staff, posing a real threat to the safety of passengers. Govia, which owns Thameslink and Southern, already runs driver only trains on Thameslink and I have been trapped on a train with a dangerously abusive passenger and no one to help.

I have also assisted wheelchair-bound passengers off trains because there was no guard, and someone had forgotten to contact the destination station to let them know the passenger would need help. The driver remains safely shut away in the cab with a CCTV camera. Useless.

Eastbourne Station is a large terminus serving a community whose number includes many elderly and infirm people, who do not shop online or cannot afford internet, or who are sight impaired and for whom ticket machines are are a nightmare. Plans to close the ticket office will exclude many from train travel.

In 2017, all organisations should provide services which are inclusive and egalitarian. You should be fully supported in accessing a train if you are disabled, and as a woman I should not have to worry about being hassled or assaulted.

Govia already charges extortionate prices for a poor return. It should not endanger lives and exclude sections of society, by putting profits before people.

CHRISTINA BURTON

Latimer Road

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