East Midlands Trains complain trains are too overcrowded for ticket collectors!
I joined a group of local people who represent a wide range of interests, such as access for people with disabilities, the City Council, SYPTE and local residents last week at the station. We met with 4 reps from East Midlands Trains (EMT)on Thursday 31st July. The group presented a united front and gave EMT a hard time about their proposal to install ticket barriers.
EMT claim that this will tackle fare “dodging” although they have no information on the current level. It was established early in the 2 hour meeting that EMT had no alternative suggestions to discuss other than the installation of gates. EMT insisted that this was consultation and they wanted to listen to local views but despite the total rejection of ticket barriers they had nothing else to offer. They managed to get the group to discuss other ways of solving their, unquantified, problem of fare evasion, but went on to reject all suggestions as unworkable. For instance the suggestion that they should put more staff on trains to collect fares was ruled out as impractical as trains were already “over- crowded, sometimes eight deep!”
The group was shown around the proposed sites for locating gates. The current plan is approximately thirteen barriers in the front hall consisting of 10 standard size and 3 wide aisle to be located between the arches and probably 5 at the back entrance, two standard size going in, and two standard size going out with one wide gate off to the side where the lift is. These ideas are subject to change as a result of a computer modelling exercise to check safety. One look at this layout makes it clear that if gating is introduced all free movement through the station would be at an end. Even people meeting passengers from trains or help them with their departure would only be able to do so at the discretion of staff on the barriers. It is also likely that wheel chair users who find the system of lifts in the station the most convenient way of getting to the city centre from the communities on the hill above the station would be blocked.
There are no arrangements in place for tram users getting off at the back of the station to go into the city centre, or walking from the bus station to the tram stop at the back of the station to be able to use the footbridge.
There was some talk of enabling local residents to be able to walk through and EMT suggested the possibility of developing a token or pass system for Residents. When informed that there are 70,000 residents in the Central Constituency alone there was no response. EMT were unable to define the meaning of “local resident”.
There are a number of large organisations and proposed developments on either side of the station. Staff and Students at Castle centre of the Sheffield College; Sheffield Hallam University; a number of secondary and primary schools in the immediate vicinity and the residents of the huge Park Hill development, in addition to people who already live here, would all be prevented from using this award winning listed building which the city has spent millions of pounds to refurbish.
If readers have concerns about EMT’s proposal that can email them to email@example.com
or write to Tim Shoveller, East Midlands Trains, FREEPOST DY940, Derby, DE1 9BR
For further information contact Residents against Station Closure at RASC2008@live.com