Make it a legal requirement to have a second safety critical person on trains

Train Operating Companies across London and the rest of the country are beginning to introduce DOO (Driver Only Operation) on their trains. Some companies want to keep a second person on the trains but their role is revenue protection and is not safety critical. This cannot be allowed!

In October 2018 a disabled man was left on a Scotrail train which was driver only operated. He needed a ramp in order to get on and off of the train. His home station was not staffed when his train arrived and the driver was not allowed to leave the cab leaving him stuck on the train until the next staffed station, 11 miles away. If we do not do something and stop our railways from becoming unmanned, more stories like this will emerge. Please help us with this cause

Government response

This response was given on 30 November 2018

Driver Only Operation (DOO) and Driver Controlled Operation (DCO) have been used on the network for over 30 years and over 50% of all passenger journeys are now on such train services.

This includes Thameslink and the London Underground. The use of this technology has been assessed by both the Office of Rail and Road - the independent regulator - who confirm that DOO is a safe method of working, provided as with all forms of train dispatch, suitably maintained equipment, proper procedures and competent staff are in place; and the Rail Safety and Standards Board, who concluded there is no safety reason to prevent the further adoption of DCO.

DCO delivers substantial benefits including performance improvements and allows for on-board staff to provide higher levels of customer service to passengers. This is why train operating companies want to move to this method of operation.

DCO allows staff to look after passengers rather than just operating the doors. Supporting disabled people to access the rail network is what we are committed to doing. In July this year we published the Inclusive Transport Strategy, which is the next step in our ambition to deliver accessible transport. We want to make the transport system inclusive. Our goal is for disabled people to be able to access the transport system easily, confidently and at no extra cost.

It is unacceptable for people to be left on trains and the situation outlined in this petition of a disabled man travelling on a Scotrail train is the opposite of what we are seeking to achieve.

We want to see more people working on our railways delivering for passengers and maintaining the high level of safety standards that makes the UK rail network one of the safest in Europe. We wholly support the desire in the petition to improve customer service. That is why the Secretary of State has offered to extend job guarantees for those currently working as the second member of staff on the train beyond the lives of the franchises introducing DCO.

Department for Transport

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Created By

Ben Spiers

Created On

Tuesday 6 November 2018

Closing Date

Monday 6 May 2019