Save our station staff: Courtney Houssos MLC and Peter Alley Country Labor.

People who use Wauchope train station are concerned that the Booking Office Manager will soon lose his job and that there will only be part-time staff on duty there.

Regular customers have told the Wauchope Gazette that the manager was told his job would come to an end in early August, but he’s been kept on until October.

There are fears in the near future there be justtwo line managers –one for stations in Coffs Harbour, Nambucca Heads, Macksville and Kempsey, and the other for Taree, Wingham, Gloucester, Kendal and Wauchope.

There would be three permanent part-time staff at Wauchope, working six-hour shifts, and one permanent part-time staff member, working three-hour shifts.

This would, at times, leave one member of staff dealing with up to 60 passengers, some with luggage, needing to board a train.

And if there was an emergency at a station, there might not be a manager nearby.

Labor spokesperson for Port Macquarie, the Hon. Courtney Houssos MLC, today met peopleat the Wauchope Train Station to hear their concerns.

In June, Ms Houssos presented a petition with 8,310 signatures to the Parliament, calling on the Baird-Grant government to maintain current staffing and service levels to Wauchope Train Station.

The petition outlined that the current number of passenger trains arriving and departing from Wauchope Trainlink Station should be maintained; that the current level of staffing should remain unchanged at the station; and that the Wauchope Trainlink Station should be staffed for all passenger trains stopping and departing from the station to ensure customer safety and access for vulnerable users.

In reaction to the Government’s plans to cut staff from regional train stations, the petitioners requested the Legislative Council stop the proposed job cuts at Wauchope Trainlink Station to allow the current levels of customer service to be maintained.

Ms Houssos says she spoken with many local people who are concerned that reducingtrain services andhelp will severely affect those who use the train most –the elderly, the young, and low-income families.

“I’m standing with the people of Port Macquarie and I’m calling on the NSW Government to guarantee that train services to Wauchope will remain unchanged, including current staffing arrangements.” she said.

Passenger Anne Gillespie said a significant number of people, especially the elderly, use the overnight train to go to Sydney for medical appointments, to avoid accommodation costs.

“They need help with their luggage and booking tickets. They feel relieved to have staff here,” she said.

A NSW TrainLink spokesperson said a newrole called Area Customer Service Manager (ACSM) has been established to manage a number of locations. ACSMs will be based at Coffs Harbour and Taree.

“The ACSM at Taree will manage Wauchope Station as well as Taree, Gloucester, Wingham and Kendall stations,” the spokesperson said.

“The ACSM at Coffs Harbour will manage Coffs Harbour, Nambucca Heads, Macksville and Kempsey as well as Sawtell, Urunga and Eungai stations.

“The new Area Customer Service Manager (ACSM) role will be employed to manage customer service and operational aspects for all stations under their remit, including cleaning and ground maintenance.

“This will allow us to be more dynamic and better equipped to adjust to varying levels of customer demand in the region.

“As part of a recent Business Review, and creation of the new ACSM role, the Booking Office Manager role has been removed as it is no longer required.

“There will be staff at Wauchope Station to cover all train arrivals and departures,”the spokesperson said.

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