Government to eliminate all transit officers

Posted: October 23, 2011 in Transport
Tags: , , ,

The government is set to get rid of all 600 transit officers that currently patrol Sydney’s trains, replacing them with 300 additional dedicated transit police and 150 additional revenue protection officers. This move will address the current problem of what role they should play. In particular, should they operate based on mode of transport (currently transit officers patrol trains, while revenue protection officers are found exclusively on buses) or based on job role (where revenue protection officers will be found on all modes of transport – checking tickets, and police will be found on all modes of transport – ensuring passenger safety).

If this is part of a plan to continue to unify public transport under one umbrella (i.e. a continuation of myZone, the formation of Transport for NSW and the eventual Opal ticketing system), with staff performing a common role across all modes of transport rather than each mode having its own separate and overlapping staff, then it would be a welcome move. However, a recent Herald report (published prior to the announcement of these cuts) suggests that the reasons for this are that police wages are lower than transit officers and that police are armed with guns while transit officers are not.

(UPDATE: Mataio in the comments below suggests that the starting salary for a transit officer is actually in line with the starting salary for a police officer and that the figures quoted in the article are incorrect. I have not verified either claim, but it would certainly make sense for both starting salaries to be about the same.)

Over the last 20 years Sydney has seen police, private contractors, transit officers and soon to be police again patrolling its trains. The cynic in me sees this most recent exercise as just re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic and not really achieving any progress. But the optimist in me thinks this actually returns things back to how they should have always been, and is a movement in the right direction. Time will tell which is correct.

  1. Police are paid less then transit officers? That’s crazy.

  2. Correct. From the Herald article, linked to above: “The starting salary for a transit officer is almost $78,000 – more than $20,000 than the starting salary of a NSW police officer”.

  3. Mataio says:

    The quoted $78,000 figure actually refers to Transit Team Leader (Frontline Manager) base wage. Transit Officers base wage is around 58-60k – the same as a Constable. Check with RailCorp.

  4. Mataio, that sounds logical so I’ll take you at your word on that. Thanks for the clarification.

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