Unmanned stations target for crime

THE removal of Queensland Rail staff from two Ipswich line stations will put passengers at risk of criminal activity, according to the Rail, Bus and Tram Union.

President Bruce Mackie criticised the move to remove staff from Gailes and crime "hot spot" Ebbw Vale stations.

The removed staff will be absorbed into QR, but Mr Mackie said it was the commuters who would be left short-changed by a lack of customer service.

Mr Mackie said staff keep stations clean and safe, open the toilets for public use, sell tickets and help disabled passengers.

During a trial period without onsite staff there was an average of 228 weekly users on the test train, with more than 5000 in total during the whole trial run.

"I suppose the big issue is that QR needs to learn from the lessons of NSW and Victoria who are putting staff back in because unstaffed stations become crime hubs," he said.

The criticism of staffing levels follows Mr Mackie's claims recently that Translink sets infringement notice quotas for Transit Officer to meet.

The union and QR have been locked in wage negotiations for several months, but Mr Mackie said quota claims were unrelated to the industrial dispute.

He said transit officers made every effort to catch fare evaders but passenger safety must come first.

"Our Transit Officer members have been told that they must intercept and fine a certain number of fare evaders each month," he said.

"If they don't then the officer will be 'performance managed' to ensure they reach the target in future."

A QR spokesman denied they set infringement quotas, but instead set clear and measurable performance expectations relating to fines and warnings handed out by all Transit Officers.

The spokesman also denied transit officers were on a fine blitz.

Train fines range from $200 for fare evasion and smoking in carriages, to $400 for serious safety breaches.

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