Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Improving Llanelli station

Published in Llanelli Herald on 5th May 2017

This week, Arriva Trains teamed up with a voluntary group, the Heart of Wales Line Development Company, to announce they will be trialling extended opening hours of the ticket office at Llanelli Train Station.

Ticket offices aren’t just about being able to purchase tickets - we’re used to using ticketing machines on platforms. It’s about local knowledge, someone we can go to for advice and help, a sense of station security and an ability to join-up public transport provision.

From speaking to local passengers about what they want out of the station, it’s obvious to me that the facilities simply aren’t open for long enough - the fact that the station is closed on a Sunday is far from ideal.

So I’m glad that throughout May the booking office on Great Western Crescent will open from 6.15am  to 5pm Monday to Saturday, and between 11am and 5pm on Sundays. Currently, the ticket office closes at 12.40pm Monday to Friday, 1.30pm on Saturdays and doesn’t open at all on Sundays.

If it goes well the longer hours could be made permanent and the rail development company will get a portion of the additional ticket sales to allow them to employ staff and offer additional services to promote greater use of the Heart of Wales Line.

The way to get more people travelling by train to make it a more attractive option than taking the car. Part of this is making the stations welcoming places by offering a wide variety of facilities - such as toilets, food & drink and manned platforms.

I’m a little concerned that it may be a self-fulfilling prophecy to say at the end of what is a fairly short trail that extended hours aren’t justified due to a lack of use. These changes need time to improve passenger numbers. Will a month be enough? We’ll soon find out.

In the meantime, spread the word. The more people that use the station throughout May, the better chance we all have of getting a permanently improved service for our town.

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