Lesley-Anne Thoy left Chennai, south India, for Australia in 2003. Now, the mother of two is leading station assistant at Huntingdale which, with 13,200 weekday entries and exits, is Melbourne’s busiest ungated station. As a connection point to Monash University’s Clayton campus, Huntingdale is also a major bus interchange with almost half of passengers arriving at or departing Huntingdale by bus each weekday.
What led you to this career with Metro?
The job I had in the telecommunications industry was quite monotonous and when I saw this position advertised with the opportunity for a work-life balance and so much interaction with people, I was very interested. I’m so thankful I chose this path. I’ve been here since April 2010 and I enjoy every aspect of my job.
What energizes you about your work?
Being able to help and interact with people of different backgrounds on a daily basis gives me satisfaction and keeps me energised.
What’s one thing that surprised you about your position here?
The importance of having the latest information on bus routes and their frequency, as well as knowledge of surrounding streets, schools, hospitals, shops and stations up and down the line.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
The language barrier would be the most challenging part of my job, but with technology improving and being able to translate conveniently in various languages, I’m happy this won’t be an issue for long.
How do you deal with challenging situations, such as passengers who are upset or angry?
I always try to listen to what the customer has to say, remain calm, understand the situation and offer different solutions to try and solve the problem.
What’s the best experience you’ve had on the job?
Generally being able to help people in distress. One recent example involved a passenger who left his mobile phone in the disabled toilet at Clayton station. He got off here and asked me for help, so I phoned the staff at Clayton who retrieved his phone and returned it to him. Days later, I received a thank-you email from him through Metro.
What happens behind the scenes here every day that we all take for granted?
Making sure the myki machines and myki readers are working, completing safety checks and making sure the station is clean and presentable for morning peak.
There’s a lot of maintenance and renewal work going on. Why do you think it’s important?
To keep up with the expanding network, we need to make sure we keep our infrastructure up to date, providing a safe and sustainable train network for the benefit of future generations.
Who uses Huntingdale station and how is it changing as Melbourne grows?
I have noticed a variety of people using the station, from university and school students to tourists, families and friends simply catching up for coffee at the station.
Huntingdale is a hub for students from Monash University’s Clayton campus. What are the connecting bus services like?
Route 601 is a high-frequency service running express between Huntingdale station and Monash University every four minutes during university days and every eight minutes on non-university days. Other bus services to Monash University from Huntingdale are Route 900, which is a SmartBus service from Rowville to Caulfield, and Route 630 from Elwood to Monash University.
What’s the difference between weekdays and weekends?
The station is far busier on weekdays than weekends. During the week, services run every four minutes during peak and the station is manned in the morning. On weekends, services are 10 minutes apart and far less crowded. And with Monash University not open on weekends, Huntingdale station is far less busy.