Transport minister Lord Adonis has today appointed two “Stations Champions” to review passengers’ requirements at stations across England and Wales and suggest ways to improve facilities.
Adonis has leapt into action after a six-day rail tour of Britain uncovered stations in dire need of upgrade.
“My tour gave me a real insight into the state of the network, which is good overall. It was clear however that the quality of stations is extremely variable and at many major stations the service level is often downright poor.
“I experienced stations where toilet facilities were closed or uncleaned, where there was a lack of refreshments or adequate bicycle or car parking facilities. There was great variability in the quality of bus interchanges, together with the unavailability of local transport information and even basic local street maps,” he said.
Adonis has asked Sir Peter Hall, President of the Town and Country Planning Association, and Chris Green, a non-executive director of Network Rail and a former chief executive of Virgin Trains, to advise the Government on improving stations.
“I have asked Sir Peter Hall and Chris Green to look at how we can get the basics right as well as to consider the broader role of stations in the future.”
The champions will advise on the minimum levels of service that should be set at stations - ensuring they are appropriate to the stations’ passenger flows - so passengers can be confident that stations will meet set standards.
They will also provide advice on how other changes such as ‘quick wins’, better station management, future franchise agreements, Network Rail initiatives, and longer term investment can be brought about in a way that that delivers better stations.
Government initiatives to improve stations include Access for All, in which £370M has been committed towards improving facilities for disabled passengers, and the National Stations Improvement Plan, which aims to upgrade approximately 150 stations with £150M of funding.
The Department for Transport also sponsors the Secure Stations Scheme which includes a national accreditation scheme recognising measures to improve station security and provide reassurance to passengers and staff. This new initiative will be a way of bringing all stations up to a similar standard.
How would you improve Britain’s railway stations? Give us your comments.