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Theft on train scares woman

ANNA LOREN
Last updated 05:00 20/02/2014
Kathryn Stevenson
NOT GOOD: Kathryn Stevenson, who has a vision impairment, says cuts to inspector numbers on Transdev trains has left her feeling unsafe

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A partially blind woman is calling on train operator Transdev to employ more inspectors after her electronic device was stolen during a journey.

Kathryn Stevenson says cuts to the number of inspectors since HOP cards came into use mean she's scared of becoming the victim of another theft and feels unsafe travelling by rail.

But Transdev says there is no link between changing staff numbers and any increase in theft on its trains.

Miss Stevenson was riding the train from Manurewa to Greenlane when she was approached by three teenagers asking about her new computer tablet.

The tablet is equipped with a programme that she uses to convert her handwriting to computer text, which is easier for her to read.

Miss Stevenson says she felt uncomfortable but answered the teenagers' questions.

"I was trying to give them the benefit of the doubt," she says.

"All of a sudden the boy just grabbed it and jumped off at the Puhinui exit."

Miss Stevenson gave chase but quickly lost the culprits. The nearest inspector she knew of was at the other end of the five-car train and didn't see the theft, she says.

"There used to be two or three guards and now there's only one. I often don't see a guard the whole trip and if you want help there's nobody around.

"I don't feel safe on there now. I've always loved travelling by train and now it's like: ‘Wait a minute'."

A Transdev spokeswoman would not say how many inspectors are present during an average train journey or how that compares to numbers before the HOP system was introduced.

She says the introduction of the new electric train fleet, which has CCTV cameras both inside and outside carriages, will make rail journeys safer for everyone.

Transdev has also appointed a security manager who is working with other agencies to improve train safety, she says.

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- Manukau Courier

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