Adelaide trains at a standstill


Adelaide trains at a standstill

By Theresa Dowding

ADELAIDE — Restructuring plans by the State Transit Authority have brought the city's rail service to a halt.

An indefinite strike began on June 10. The dispute concerns STA plans to have transit police on dangerous routes replace guards, who would lose their jobs. Other proposed changes require commuters to purchase tickets before entering a station platform.

Some 30,000 train commuters have been forced to catch buses or share taxis. No extra buses have been provided, leaving many commuters stranded as the packed buses pass them. One commuter said eight buses passed her before she was able to board one.

However, most commuters seem to support the strike. Letters in local newspapers, and even an editorial in the Advertiser, have been sympathetic to the guards.

To accommodate the changes to ticket selling, suburban delicatessens and newsagents were enlisted to sell tickets. Some elderly people have complained that they will have to walk more than a kilometre to the nearest ticket outlet.

The proposed changes would also adversely affect the disabled, parents with children in prams and the elderly, who would have difficulty alighting from trains without assistance from train guards. At many stations the platforms are well below the level of the train floor. The duties of transit police do not include helping people alight, or signalling to the driver when all passengers have alighted.

The STA remains adamant that driver only operations are "non-negotiable".