How would you spend £340,000 to improve our stations?

Govia Thamelink was fined £15 million for last year’s timetable meltdown. After work by MPs, local councils and rail traveller groups this has been allocated to stations, for projects to help passengers hit by the collapse in services.

For stations we cover on the Darenth Valley line £340,000 will be allocated to projects that help passengers directly.  Amounts at each station depend on how badly services were affected.

StationAmount
Sevenoaks£30,000
Otford£50,000
Eynsford£80,000
Bat & Ball£80,000
Shoreham£80,000

(Elsewhere in the Sevenoaks District: Swanley £50,000; Edenbridge Town £30,000; Edenbridge £30,000; Cowden £30,000; Hever £30,000; Leigh (Kent) £30,000; Penshurst £30,000.)

There’s a website for passengers to feed in ideas, and a price list for standard items like platform shelters, information screens, ticket machines or seating,  at https://www.passengerbenefitfund.co.uk

We’ve had a first look, and talked to GTR. The best use of the money will differ by station. Our initial preference is for projects which:

  • give step free access to trains where it isn’t already in place
  • provide ticket machines where there aren’t enough
  • improve live running infomation for passengers, about trains and, at Sevenoaks, connecting buses
  • give station and platform wifi where it’s missing
  • improve shelters and seating where they are inadequate.

Please let us know what you think? Decisions will be taken end July, and GTR will give extra weight to passenger groups like ours.


Comments

How would you spend £340,000 to improve our stations? — 11 Comments

  1. Bat & Ball, Shoreham and many other stations have Ticket Vending Machines that refuse to accept cash. This means that around 1.5 million people in Britain (often the most vulnerable) are banned from turn-up-and-go rail journeys from such stations, or face being hit by Penalty Fares / prosecution. This is unacceptable.

    If TOCs choose to abolish ticket offices to save money then they need to provide cash TVMs, or a process that authorises the unbanked to pay cash on the train or at their destination.

    Outdoor cash TVMs are not a problem: Orpington Station has two of them !

    The cost of providing cash TVMs should be treated as a normal business expense. However, if the so-called regulators allow TOCs to wriggle out of their responsibilities then perhaps the Passenger Benefit Fund should be raided?

  2. Hopefully the website is wrong and the money can be spent for station improvements at non-GTR managed ones. The website FAQs states it can only be spent on ‘wider passenger benefits’ at Southeastern managed stations. If that’s true it seems unfair on Shoreham, Eysnford and Bat & Ball since they are managed by Southeastern even though they don’t run any of the trains.

  3. Shoreham is in desperate need of a ramp to the London-bound platform. I’ve completed the survey and made reference to inconvenience, cost and unnecessary carbon emissions caused by having to drive to other stations to travel.

    Otford is the Station I use when travelling with my father in his wheelchair but even that is impossible after mid-morning because there isn’t any parking space left there.

    Traveller numbers that they no doubt use to do cost/benefit analyses are much lower than they would be because of the practical inability to access the trains from here.

    Hopefully there will be an appetite to address this, but the costs may well be prohibitive. Nothing ventured and all that . Any weight that the STRA can add to our cause will be very welcome by our community

  4. The website reflects the original plan for the scheme, and is now out of date. After our intervention and that of other local stakeholders the rules have been changed to allow for specific station improvements at Darenth Valley line. It will also be administered by GTR, partly to avoid any complications due to the ongoing Southeastern refranchising work.

  5. As a retired Shoreham resident I don’t commute but do use the train quite often. Fortunately I am still mobile and can use the footbridge at the station but the lack of accessibility to the up platform must inevitably prevent wheelchair users and mothers with pushchairs from using the train at all. The lack of ramp access would seem to be an avoidable counter-productive barrier to some passengers and their potential fares for GTR. It really should be cost-effective to provide a ramp!

    Many thanks in advance.

    Peter Warr

  6. Shoreham desperately needs to be accessible for all on BOTH platforms. Currently it is impossible to use the station with my double buggy and two toddlers as I simply cannot get them safely over the footbridge. For those with mobility issues the footbridge is difficult and extremely hazardous in wet and icy conditions.

    We desperately need a ramp to the London bound platform. It seems extraordinary that in this day and age so many people (those with buggies and luggage, the elderly, and disabled users) have to use other stations because Shoreham station sadly does not meet their needs.

    I am quite sure Shoreham would have many more visitors on public transport if changes were made, thereby reducing traffic and pollution in the village and bringing a real economic benefit to the businesses within our community.

  7. They’ve changed the survey – can we be assured that those who completed the original, simpler version will still have their comments heard I wonder?

  8. The foot bridge at Shoreham station desperately needs drainage. Whenever it rains large puddles form on the bridge and on the steps particularly on the visibility impaired strips. In cold weather these then freeze making it very hazardous. The bridge is badly designed although there are drain holes at the top of the bridge the water doesn’t flow into these and just pools right at the top of the steps.

  9. I agree with Ann’s post. There is much need for a ramp in Shoreham.

    It’s so dangerous for anyone with a baby (like myself) to carry a pram over the bridge to the Londonbound platform. Myself and other mum friends have to resort to driving to other stations such as Otford. A ramp would alleviate that. Same goes for wheelchair access – it simply isn’t available. And trying to take a bike with a baby-seat and a two year old is nigh impossible.

    In an attempt to address this, friends and I have been delivering leaflets and putting up posters so as to urge people to fill out the survey. Whilst doing this we met many who are of the same thinking: we really need that ramp!

    If it’s going to cost more than our allocation, then surely there would be some funds in another pot for general improvements to the station?

    Shoreham station is unmanned so I’m sure there have been savings there? I also heard that one of the buildings (I think it was the waiting room but not 100%) has been rented out for storage. Could the rent being collected here be ploughed into a ramp fund – as a sort of compensation for not having a waiting room on the Sevenoaks bound platform?

    I also wanted to raise an issue with the online survey: what about the folk that aren’t online? There’s nothing stated on the GTR website that gives a physical address. I’m guessing that many of the Shoreham residents that aren’t online would really benefit from a ramp. What is GTR doing about making this survey accessible to all?

  10. Shoreham Station and yhe village and community as a whole would benefit greatly from step free access for the London bound platform (e.g. via a ramp from the road below). This would assist disabled people, people with mobility issues, parents with young children in buggies and anyone travelling with luggage. It would encourage use of rail travel and thereby reduce car use and traffic congestion in the village and carbon emissions etc.
    There is already massive support in the village for using the funds to this end, including from the Parish Council, and any support for this campaign would be really appreciated.

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