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Public safety discouraging train patronage

24 July 2014

Public safety discouraging train patronage

Train commuters are reconsidering travel on the southern rail line until Auckland Council and Auckland Transport take urgent steps to permanently secure train stations, according to Manurewa Local Board chairperson Angela Dalton.

Responding to consistent complaints by users, Ms Dalton said information gathered points to an increasing frequency of fare evasion and criminal behaviour at train stations on the region’s southern line.

“Young people have unfettered access to the train stations encouraged by the lack of accountability in having to pay their way. Counties Manukau Police in turn are documenting incidents of intimidation of train commuters, fare evasion, fighting, graffiti and vandalism, and breaches to local liquor bans.

Auckland Transport has failed to gate and secure the train stations. The response from these agencies to date has been to demand action from the Police and central government.

“This inadequate response lets down law-abiding train commuters who come off second best to a regional directive that says ‘ignore the plight of suburban communities because the sole focus is to build the City Rail Link’.

It is the responsibility of Auckland Council and its transport subsidiary to secure the stations. Lobbying the Minister of Local Government in the absence of proper and durable safety measures is wholly unacceptable,” Ms Dalton said.

In reporting safety concerns to Auckland Council’s Infrastructure committee, Ms Dalton was encouraged by the unanimous support and discussion by Councillors in response to her representation on behalf of ratepayers. `Auckland Councillors on the Infrastructure Committee today listened and responded positively to my request for their support in addressing this significant area of concern with Auckland Transport’.

“The Police have been warning Auckland Transport for months about problems with unsecured train stations. In light of failed ad hoc solutions such as contracted ticket inspectors and security guards operating from time-to-time, a more radical response may be required.

People will continue to abandon the trains in favour of cars until such time as there is attention focussed on security issues at suburban train stations instead of committing rate payers money into the City Rail Link,” Angela Dalton said.

ENDS

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