Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Partial climb down by National Express?

Last year I blogged about National Express's plans to install ticket barriers at stations on the East Coast mainline, banning all but travellers with tickets from the platforms. Part of that post said,

As "Simon" from National Express "Customer Relations" says, "People will no longer be allowed on the platform without a ticket. This is going to be implemented on every station up and down the East Coast line. We do not have any plans to issue a platform ticket in the foreseeable future."

My story was covered in the Echo, which produced a number of letters from aggrieved travellers, including one from a mother who had been denied access to the platform to say goodbye to her son who was off to fight in Afghanistan.

Now National Express have produced a briefing document outlining its plans for Darlington Bank Top Station.

Despite what was said back in December, it seems that National Express have relented and decided that they will issue platform tickets - free of charge - for those who need to have access to the platform, but who do not intend to travel. This includes train spotters, who were previously going to be banned.

The document states:

"Platform passes for “Meeters and Greeters”, Rail and Heritage Enthusiasts
At all stations where permanent gatelines are installed, we will introduce a policy where platform passes will be issued to people who have a genuine reason to join or assist relatives, friends or colleagues on a platform. We do not intend to charge for these passes – unlike the platform tickets which were sold in the past. These passes will also be issued, at the discretion of station staff, to people who wish to view Darlington Station or who are train/rail enthusiasts."

The key phrase here is "at the discretion of station staff". I shall be writing to National Express to ask that they issue guidelines which ensure staff operate a liberal and helpful policy here. The National Express website still says this, when dealing with the proposed gate installations:

"Platform access
If you do not have a valid ticket for travel then under normal circumstances you will not be allowed access to the platform."

I'll report back on any response I get.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Arriving from London each Friday evening it is fairly obvious that the barrier location is in the most congested area of the station with ticket machines ,ticket office ,cash machines and coffee stall next to the exit of the barriers people leaving and entering the platform have to negotiate queues of people tyting to get tickets,cash or simply waiting for passengers to arrive
A safety assessment would have identified a need for more than one exit or entrance especially for the emergency scenario ,where the emergency services consulted on the barrier location;Additional barriers could have been located at the entrance to the station adjacent to the taxi rank where the previous platform access gates are now locked