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METRO is considering bringing back entrance gates on platforms at 25 of Melbourne's most overcrowded railway stations in a bid to better control the flow of passengers getting on and off trains.
n April, Metro tried to reinstate the waving of a white flag on platforms at Flinders Street. Customer service staff would blow a whistle and raise a white flag to signal a train was ready to depart. The flag was meant to improve train punctuality, by indicating to late passengers not to board trains about to leave.
But Metro cancelled the trial after just a few days, after the Rail, Tram and Bus Union said staff were being left with no support to deal with passengers who became aggressive after being ordered not to board departing trains.
Now Metro is again trialling the practice at Parliament and Flagstaff stations, with what it calls ''dispatch paddles'' - a stick fitted with bright LED lights and raised when it is safe for the driver to close train doors.
But the union has demanded the paddles only be used in conjunction with the re-introduction of gates at the ends of busy station platforms, which are closed just before the train departs so passengers cannot rush on board at the last second.
No agreement about bringing back gates to platforms has been reached with Metro, but spokesman Chris Whitefield said the train operator was ''considering all options for how best to manage the higher number of passengers travelling on our trains''.
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