by Dundonald Lib Dems on 1 April, 2017
Email to First MTR, after it was announced they will take over the South Western Train franchise later this year.
I’ve been given your contact details as someone to approach with a question about First MTR’s acquisition of the South Western Franchise.
Since 2014, we have campaigned with residents for step-free access at Raynes Park and Motspur Park stations, both currently operated by SWT.
Raynes Park Station had nearly 4.5 million entries & exits in 2015/16 – and whilst it has a ramp to access platforms going towards central London, platforms in the other direction are only accessible via steps. This means wheelchair users, those with mobility problems and parents with prams and buggies can only use the station going one way.
Motspur Park Station had 1.2 million entries and exits in 2015/16, neither platform has step free accessibility. It is not easily served by bus routes.
We entered into correspondence with the DfT, NR and SWT on this, and submitted a 1400-strong petition. Ultimately, after much correspondence we were able to uncover that unlike other stations it operates, SWT did not put forward either Raynes Park nor Motspur Park for funding from Access for All.
A SWT spokesman eventually told the Wimbledon Guardian in 2015 that: “The nearest stations to Motspur Park and Raynes Park are already fully accessible and therefore any funding bid would not have met the necessary criteria” (this is not the reasoning they had put forward to us, which initially seemed to imply they hadn’t met the criteria on application, but was contradicted by the DfT that said applications had not been received).
Expecting passengers with heavy luggage or buggies, and those who cannot manage the stairs, to go to a station that is not their nearest one seems unreasonable – especially when SWT only chose to apply for funding to improve eg New Malden at the same time as it could have applied to improve Raynes Park and Motspur Park.
Similarly, it’s not enough to say that people can call the “Passenger Assist” service; life just doesn’t work like that. We believe that real equality means everyone should be able to access the trains without huge extra effort.
We are aware that both stations may be significantly developed if Crossrail 2 goes ahead. But it may not, and even if it does, it may take 10-15 years. The stations should not be allowed to fall into disrepair in this period.
Therefore, we’d like to ask:
All best wishes
On behalf of Merton Liberal Democrats5 Comments