|Melbourne - no guards required!|
Many other rail networks have already eliminated guards. In Australia, rail networks in Perth, Melbourne, and even a large country town - Adelaide, have eliminated guards. On London Underground, London Overground, and London's C2C network, guards have also been eliminated. Even in Japan, where the is no lack of staffing on the rail networks, there have been recent moves to increase the use driver only operation. CCTV cameras, displays (either on platform end displays, or in-cab), and mirrors are used to display the platform images to the driver. Before stuck in their ways Queenslanders say "we can't do that", it should be noted driver only operation is in use with curved platforms, platform/door gaps, platform view obstructions, sun, rain, snow, and hail. One thorn in the side of driver only operation, is the lack of ATP on Brisbane's suburban rail system. No ATP means that there is little to prevent a train overrunning a red signal other than driver awareness. Thus utmost concentration is required to ensure safety. Would remembering to get the ramp out at Sunshine for Mrs Bloggs to alight from the train really decrease this concentration?
Changes that would need to be made with driver only operation, would include the installation of CCTV, displays, and mirrors at the platform end. Waiting positions for those that require assistance would be moved to the end of the platforms. Ideally, raised sections of platforms to improve access would be built at the end of platforms instead of in the middle as at present. Installing automated announcements, and next station LCD displays on trains would also be useful, and reduce the number of tasks required of the driver. The drivers would have to be trained in assisting disabled passengers onto the first carriage with the use of ramps.
BrizCommuter thinks that Brisbane should start to move towards driver only operation with its obvious financial efficiencies, and ATP with its obvious safety advantages. The latter should be integrated with higher capacity signalling improvements required due to the delay of Cross River Rail. However, as with any progress on SE Queensland's rail network, BrizCommuter is pessimistic that we will see any change soon.