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kot
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More Transport issues
« on: September 26, 2007, 11:58:43 am »

Yesterday the opportunity was available for Whitchurch Rail users to Meet the Manager at the station and I took the chance to put forward some views.

The new Ticket Machine is unreliable which does not sit well with the heavy handedness of many of the SWT Revenue Protection Staff. Railcards and associated discounts are not useable if you cannot use the machine and Penalty Fares are highly likely. In addition some ticket types are unavailable from the machine such as the GroupSave - an excellent good value 3 or 4 for the price of two. Sunlight on the south-facing machine is another problem and it is sometimes unreadable - a complaint that, according to train staff, many have made.
He did promise to take away my concerns particularly the one about drivers who block access to the machine by their inconsiderate parking. I suggested a bollard or two to keep them back a metre or so, an idea that I hope we will have a result on.
The same problem occurs at the Sheffield Cycle Stands round the corner and I showed him the problem. Again he said he would take this forward.
See:
http://www.velotree.co.uk/swtblockedmachin.html
and:
http://www.velotree.co.uk/swtblockedrack.html

CCTV is apparently within the franchise, but we who use the station regularly have been hearing it will be installed for a number of years now and nothing has appeared. As someone who has been physically attacked at the station at night (nice place isn't it!) I consider it an essential but I am told SWT have limited resources. Oh yeah? Remind me how much Soutar and Gloag took away last year, and how much above inflation fares have risen! Wasn't the Christmas bonus they paid themselves a meagre £75million?

Only sympathetic shrugs were offered when I suggested the buses and trains should work together. There is no coordination between Stagecoach trains and Stagecoach buses - an truly pathetic situation. Integrated ticketing and runabout schemes work in other parts of the country even when the operators are different companies. But here? Sorry its a joke. Our politicians should have been pushing for this too!

The long saga of more parking continues apparently with some moves towards acquiring more land (north of the station?), although the 'Manager' was unclear on this. Personally I'd like to see the parked cars removed from Evingar and Station Road as they block the way for other traffic. It is selfish. Roads are for movement of people and goods not for leaving one's personal chattels on. It restricts movement for others as well as for emergency and other essential services. The same goes for London Road, Newbury Street, Micheldever Road and elsewhere in the
Town. If you don't have somewhere off road to store your vehicle then perhaps you should consider not having one.

Overcrowding on trains was raised and I was assured that the 10-car trains when introduced will help this. No date was offered for this of course. They will also potentially allow more cycle carriage. As the trains are often standing room only I can't really see one extra carriage on a few trains making very much of a difference. The running of three-car trains at weekends and the crush on many of them probably has more to do with SWT not wanting to pay track fees to Network Rail - and of course weekend leisure users are not as important as the weekday peaktime season ticket travellers  (am I being cynical?).

Overall I felt the poor chap was on the defensive and was being almost apologetic for his employers. He has a hard job working for a company that seems to be driven more by lining shareholders pockets that providing a good value customer service. If anyone else took the opportunity to put forward their comments I'd love to hear the responses you received and of course this forum is an excellent tool for sharing experiences.

kot

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Doctorb
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Re: More Transport issues
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2007, 07:41:59 pm »

It would be nice if they could stop or enforce people from parking on the roundabout, if not just remove it.
The other improvement would be for the Newbury to Reading/London line being sorted out. Many from Newbury drive to Whitchurch and get on there for various reasons, I'm sure some parking restrictions in Evingar Road and clearer enforced station parking would deter some from risking the journey.
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Daniel
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Re: More Transport issues
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2007, 06:43:52 pm »

I have to fully agree with this;

''I'm sure some parking restrictions in Evingar Road and clearer enforced station parking would deter some from risking the journey.''

It is a nightmare. Perhaps I am somewhat naive, but I always thought the idea of Public Transport was to leave the car at home?

I must congratulate South West Trains, however, and I never thought I would offer them such charity. I frequently have cause to travel to Bristol and in so doing I have realised just how good South West Trains are. When you get to Salisbury and get on (if you can) the two carriage First Great Western service to Cardiff, it dawns on you just how bad train travel can be. No matter what time of day it is, if you can find somewhere to stand on it, you are lucky.
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kot
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Re: More Transport issues
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2007, 11:51:56 am »

It would be nice if they could stop or enforce people from parking on the roundabout, if not just remove it.

It had various vehicles vying for every inch around it yesterday.

The ticket machine was unusable again too.
http://www.velotree.co.uk/swtsunonmachine.html

kot
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Doctorb
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Re: More Transport issues
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2007, 01:54:30 pm »

I really don't think extra station parking spaces is a solution, more parking spaces will encourage more cars (from those living nearer another station eg Newbury) to park there. It will just get filled up as soon as word gets around that Whitchurch station has ample parking. Why get on a busy crowded train in Newbury when you can park and ride easily in Whitchurch?

The extra parking idea has good intentions but hasn't been researched properly, it should be implemented only after other considerations and measures have taken place. Here's a few ideas:

Permit parking (maybe with time restrictions as well) on Evingar road and side roads to encourage commuters (who have the choice of a nearer station) to travel elsewhere. Those who live within walking distance would also be more inclined to leave their car at home.

Better road marking (extended double yellow + loading restrictions) and enforcement of those who park with restrictions.

Removal of roundabout or as above.

Premium price for those parking for more than eight hours.


Persuading people who don't necessarily need to drive to Whitchurch to use the train will decrease the number of people using the parking and prevent overcrowding, more spaces equal more people. I think you will find with a little research (number plate checks DVLA for residence or the basic clipboard approach?) you will find many using the station simply because its a soft touch and less hassle than neighbouring stations.

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thewhitorg
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Re: More Transport issues
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2007, 10:21:37 pm »

An answer is not to travel.

That is one reason why the e.office is being set up. It's part on a nationwide prograamme to provide facilities to allow people to work, if not from home, then in the centre of their community.

    Amongst other things, this:
  • Reduces the need to travel - good for the workers having commuted into London at one stage of my life
  • Increases spend in local businesses (as the e.workrers walk past local shops to get to the office)
  • Reduces parking problems at the station
  • It's meant to provide office facilities for those who have a small business but not the space or funds to set up their own office and those whose employers are happy for them to work at home (saving on office overheads, car parking space etc) but require such things they don't have at home such as as access to a meeting room or photocopier or even just a desk (rather than sharing the dining room table).
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kot
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Re: More Transport issues
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2007, 09:59:07 am »

An answer is not to travel.

...or at least to reduce travel.

The free and increased mobility that recent generations have enjoyed is, in my opinion, behind many of the problems.
The belief that free and unrestricted travel is a god-given right  and must not be not subject to any controls is unsustainable.
It had led to the death of many communities.

Initiatives such as the e-centre, whilst not new, are a step in the right direction. Much more emphasis needs to be on reducing the all-pervading 'car-culture' that has taken over our society.

It cannot be done overnight but steps can be made to move in the right direction. Yesterday I was in Portsmouth, which is now virtually a car park. Streets are packed solid with vehicles - restricting movement, increasing stress levels and frustrations, adding dangers, causing lost productivity and creating pollution. The same problems can be seen in Whitchurch, and in most communities throughout the country, albeit at smaller levels but with the same ever-worsening results.

Phil is absolutely right; travel needs to reduce.

We can all play our part. Think about the altenatives before automatically jumping in the car. Think about shopping locally rather than travelling to Basingstoke or Andover. Think where this never-ending quest to increase journey lengths is leading us.

It is not that difficult to do and the rewards can be substantial.

kot

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