The BBC reports that Southern has given 70 low-paid employees just 4 days notice that they will lose their jobs, as it ends its trolley service on trains.
Such short notice seems a particularly poor deal for those losing their jobs in an economy that is still early in a fairly shaky recovery. The manner in which this was handled appears to have caused as much outrage as the actual decision to end this service to customers.
Will I personally miss the service? Not really. In over 25 years of commuting I think there were only a couple of times when I bought a coffee. With a 2½ hour commute each way I keep my fluid intake low, given the frequency of delays and missed connections, as well as the number of toilets on trains that seem to be out-of-order.
Others will probably miss the service. Only this morning a delayed commuter complained that he was late for a meeting and had even skipped breakfast to get to the train on time. At least today he had the opportunity to buy a snack on the train. Next week that will no longer be the case.
With increasing numbers of passengers forced to stand, it is probably becoming more difficult for the trolleys to pass through the trains. Who knows, perhaps this factored in Southern‘s decision.
As for those who are losing their jobs, how about Southern doing the decent thing and retraining them, so they can be deployed to other positions?
We still have a number of unmanned stations on the network where getting a coffee is the least of your worries: you cannot even buy a ticket at those stations and there’s nobody to help you if you are elderly or disabled. I’ve had to help people who were infirm get their suitcase up the stairs at my local station (Bishopstone) because their are no staff on site. More staff would be very welcome at these stations.