Richmond – Putney – Return
There’s three ways to upgrade a train station as a franchise operator. You can go right ahead and do it, your can consult with your staff and passengers and do the upgrades based on the feedback, or you can consult widely and then ignore everything you’re told.
South West Trains have been accused of doing the latter in the past. Keen to tackle these failings they held a “Meet the Project Team” event at Putney today. Sadly the project is nearing completion, due end of March, but better late than never. I went along to have a look.
I almost didn’t get on the bus. It pulled up with three unfolded buggies on board. Fortunately one buggy got off and after one mother moved her buggy, reluctantly, to let me on we were all able to fit comfortably.
The ramps too and from the trains were provided by the wranglers mostly efficiently, thought I had to do a little educating at Putney on safe positioning of the ramp. I get the impression that Putney doesn’t see many wheelchairs, certainly it was my first visit.
When I explained why I was there the ramp wrangler took me to meet with the Station Manager. He is clearly very proud of his station and the work that is being undertaken. He was also very keen to point out how the project team were ensuring that all the work was DDA compliant. I didn’t dig too deeply but I’m always sceptical about professionals meeting standards. Certainly he was unable to give me specifics about the ramp intended for the front of the station which is replacing the current offering which most definitely doesn’t comply with anything.
The team also hadn’t thought about how people needing assistance could make themselves known from the station entrance now that the ticket office and first point of contact is moving from line of site to the door. Hopefully my question has started the thought process and a change will be made to the plan.
It would have been better to involve disabled people at the outset guys.
Perfect Planning Prevents Poor Performance.