STEVE NORRIS last week launched a passionate attack on two of London Underground's (LUL) newest passenger interchanges and urged the operator to start getting better information to the travelling public.
As chairman of the Interchange Awards judging panel, Norris slated the performance of the new Stratford Station and Canning Town interchanges during his visits. Both were shortlisted projects in the Interchange medium sized project of the year award.
Presenting the awards to a packed reception at the Hilton Hotel in London, Norris asserted: 'Stratford is a first class facility but is let down as all the plasma screens tell you is that smoking is not permitted.'
He went on: 'At Canning Town it is no better. All the static information is displayed dynamically with all the useful, dynamic information scribbled on a blackboard.'
However, Norris congratulated LUL, and in particular its station manager at Canada Water, as he handed the facility the medium-sized project of the year award. Here, he said, LUL had created a first class station but was also using the infrastructure and equipment as it was designed.
'Information is about giving confidence and reassurance to the public, ' said Norris. 'Canada Water's manager wanted to give information to the public and so he got on and did it.'
The staff have truly mastered the technology and are putting it to excellent use to help their customers, he added. The award was accepted by LUL sub-surface infraco manager Andie Harper who is also responsible for the other two stations singled out by Norris for improvement.
'We'll improve the other two, ' he promised as he collected the trophy.
Project of the year award
CROYDON TRAMLINK picked up the large project of the year award for creating what the judges described as 'the spine of an entirely new integrated network' for Croydon.
The public and privately funded scheme which opened in 1999 now carries 50,000 passengers a day.
Street running trams have successfully encouraged both workers and shoppers to leave their cars at home across a wide catchment of south London.
Medium-sized project was won by London Underground's new Canada Water interchange which the judges praised for its state of the art communications technology coupled with staff who were prepared to use it.
The small project award was won by Warwick Parkway, a new park and ride interchange off the M40 enabling commuters to exchange their cars for trains and buses to both Birmingham and London.
The judges praised the very high standard of ticketing, toilet facilities and a 24 hour security system that has eradicated all car crime since the facility opened in October 2000.
KIZOOM'S WAP technology, delivering real time travel information to commuters' mobile telephones, impressed the judges as the shape of things to come and won the software developer the innovation award.
Already widely used by passengers on the Docklands Light Railway in London, the system is expected to become an invaluable tool in helping commuters and travellers find the best route for their journey.
As a real means to aid journeys by public transport, Kizoom's technology was thought to sum up the spirit needed to encourage integrated transport in the UK.
Backing this theme, the good ideas award was presented to Gerard Finn, fleet finance manager at insurance giant Prudential, for his idea to revolutionise the buying of transport tickets.
Pay-as-you-go ticketing, he claimed, should use smart card technology similar to that employed in prepaid mobile phones and paid for by prepaid vouchers or charge cards in conjunction with WAP technology.
The card, he suggested, should be readable by rail access gates and bus and trams for single, return or family fares. The judges agreed.
International interchange award
THE INTERNATIONAL interchange award went to the huge Kowloon Station Development in Hong Kong designed by architect Terry Farell & Partners.
The station on Hong Kong's new airport railway is claimed to be the largest passenger interchange with 30M passengers using it a year.
Passengers can use the world's biggest baggage check in and connect with local rail lines.
Special integrated transport award
GLASGOW CENTRAL Station refurbishment and city centre improvement picked up the judges' special integrated transport award.
Under the scheme, the Victorian station was made into a much more pleasant waiting area for passengers, with the creation of a glass canopy that allows daylight but no water to stream in.
Glasgow was also recognised for work around the station which has provided more pavement for pedestrians, less roadspace for cars, better bus/taxi interchanges and CCTV to smooth the flow of cabs.
he added. 'Our costs need to be balanced against meeting the needs of the overall majority.'
Chairman of RMJM Architects Mark Way said that station design in the UK was still not good enough to match European interchanges. 'We should learn from the wide open spaces of places like Central Station in Amsterdam and Grand Central in New York or the Chek Lap Kok airport in Hong Kong.'
The Department of Trade and Industry is still standing in the way of integrated ticketing between bus companies, said deputy chief executive of Go Ahead Chris Moyes. 'The 1998 Competition Act prohibits integration, ' he said.
ClearWay, as seen at Interchange, is a consortium providing integrated transport solutions. It is formed of consultant Brown & Root, National Car Parks and Thales Translink. We apologise for any confusion in the 29 March issue.