GTR improves station modernisation plans after consultation
Date: 09 Jun 2016
GTR has improved its station modernisation plans following discussions with the two rail consumer groups Transport Focus and London TravelWatch, and feedback from passengers during a public consultation. Both consumer groups have welcomed the changes.
GTR wants to modernise the way it operates 83 of its busier stations on Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink for the benefit of passengers, many of whom now buy their tickets online, or use Oyster, contactless and smartcards.
Where sales from ticket offices are low, GTR wants to bring staff out from behind the windows and on to the concourse to work where they’re needed most, as Station Hosts, providing assistance and helping sell tickets. All the modernised stations will be staffed from the very first train the very last, seven days a week.
This will drive other customer benefits – GTR will also be able to increase the opening hours of facilities passengers have told us are important, such as waiting rooms, toilets and lifts.
A key concern raised during the public consultation into the plans was that stations predominantly within the London Travelcard zone would not have equipment allowing passengers to buy the full range of tickets that would normally be available from a ticket office. GTR says that this equipment will now be made available. Consequently, GTR’s new commitment is that ticket availability will not be reduced from current levels - passengers will continue to be able to buy the same range of tickets and railcards that they can today, but will have a person who can help with buying tickets, for longer, especially in the evenings and at weekends.
There were also concerns about queuing times at all the modernised stations. GTR has given a commitment that station staffing levels will ensure passengers do not have to wait longer than they do today – and the extension of new smart ticket technology means that passengers will soon be passing through stations even faster. GTR is also going to keep ticket offices open in the morning peak at an additional 10 stations on the list to cope with demand and keep passengers moving. Furthermore, 63 new ticket machines will be installed.
Finally, there is a commitment to ‘soft launch’ the concept at a select number of stations towards the end of the summer and if necessary make any changes to reassure passengers, staff and stakeholders that the concept works and will improve the service provided at stations.
Transport Focus Chief Executive Anthony Smith said: “We are pleased to see that GTR has listened to passengers’ concerns and changed their plans to reflect these. The pilots are an opportunity to test these plans and monitor their impact.”
GTR Passenger Service Director Keith Jipps said: “We appreciate the assistance and views of Transport Focus and London TravelWatch and for their support for our plans going forward. We think the consultation has been a success as we’ve been able to listen to our passengers and modify our proposals to meet their needs now and in the future.
“We believe our new Station Hosts will be of great benefit to our passengers, providing assistance for more hours each day with the same tickets available as today.”
GTR is also in discussions with disability user groups who sought reassurances during the consultation that provision for disabled passengers would not be reduced. The increased visibility of the Station Hosts, as well as their longer availability, should mean that GTR not only meets, but improves the station experience for people with disabilities.
Keith added: “I’d like to thank passengers for responding to the consultation and feel confident that these changes will reassure them that our proposals will improve passengers’ experience in our stations.”
London TravelWatch has issued a separate press release welcoming the changes.
The stations which will now have ticket offices kept open in the morning peak are: Denmark Hill, Elstree & Borehamwood, Luton Airport Parkway, Mill Hill Broadway, Radlett, Hornsey, Peckham Rye, Streatham, Reigate and Shoreham by Sea.
GTR, which runs Southern, Great Northern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express, plans to bring staff out of the ticket office and onto the concourse as Station Hosts, who will be more visible and able to help customers with ticket advice and purchasing, journey information and general assistance. This will be for longer than ticket offices are currently open.
- The stations will continue to sell the full range of tickets currently on sale at ticket offices
- All the stations will be staffed from first to last service
- At busier stations the ticket offices will be available for peak times - more stations now than before
- Queuing standards will be maintained
- Station facilities, like waiting rooms and toilets, will be open for longer
- GTR will introduce Oyster ‘pay as you go’ style smartcard ticketing across the network which can be topped up at home and guarantees the cheapest walk-up fare for the day
- 63 additional ticket machines will be installed
- Ticket machines have a high level of reliability and will be upgraded to be more user friendly
- Station hosts will be able to process all transactions that are currently undertaken by ticket offices
- GTR is talking with disability user groups to ensure its plans not only meet but improve the station experience for people with disabilities
· Southern and Gatwick Express press office: 0203 750 2030
· Thameslink and Great Northern press office: 0203 750 2031
Govia Thameslink Railway
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:
· Thameslink – services between Bedford and Brighton, Luton/St Albans and Sutton, Wimbledon and Sevenoaks
· Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
· Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
· Gatwick Express – Fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria
GTR is now the largest rail franchise in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue and staff: GTR carries about 326 million passenger journeys per year, employs around 6,500 people and generates annual passenger revenues of approximately £1.3bn.
The GTR investment programme for stations includes funding for more CCTV, toilet refurbishments, new retail facilities, help points and car park improvements – as well as plans for increased motorcycle storage and improved transport integration.
southernrailway.com, gatwickexpress.com, thameslinkrailway.com greatnorthernrail.com