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It gives me no pleasure to report that suspicions about South West Trains tactics on staffing ticket offices, voiced on a blog on this site on January 19 this year, already appear to be coming true. After apparently accepting the government’s insistence last month that they should not slash the opening times of many ticket offices, SWT is approaching this from another angle, as predicted, by keeping the ticket offices open but cutting staff anyway. Thus at West Byfleet station plans are afoot to cut the current staff by 60%, from five to two. This will mean that when two ticket windows are required to be open to cope with peak morning demand, from around 7-9.30 am, only one window will be open, creating long queues and frustration and forcing people to board trains without tickets, and be treated as suspected criminals by SWT guards as a result. Are SWT suggesting that peak passengers numbers are down by 50%? A veteran member of staff who attempted to inform his customers of this news was threatened with suspension as a result. These cuts are likely to be replicated at other stations in the Woking area and across the network. This is typical of SWT’s arrogant behaviour, towards government now, as well as long-suffering passengers. Don’t let them get away with it!

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