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09 July 2008

The barriers go up in Forest Hill

This week has seen the new system of ticket barriers and shut gates at Forest Hill. Passengers at Sydenham have been suffering now for a month from limited access to platform 1 at the station and now Forest Hill has limited access to platform 2. The ticket barriers themselves are not a big problem, although they can lead to congestion getting into the station, the real problem is the 'secondary' gates which, at certain times of day, can be used more than the main entrance/exit.

Southern Rail have listened to some of the concerns of the Forest Hill Society (most notably leaving the Perry Vale exit open after 8pm) but the introduction of these barriers has been done with little consideration of how it affects passengers in the local area.

Mayor Steve Bullock has invited the Managing Directors of Southern Railways and London Rail to Forest Hill station at 5:30pm on Friday 18th July. In his words "...you must be aware of the anger that is being expressed by your fare paying customers who use Forest Hill and Sydenham stations. The installation of barriers is causing delays and inconvenience of a large scale as well as putting those individuals who have mobility problems of any kind in a very difficult position."

Why should commuters have to queue for up to 8 minutes(*) in the rain to show a damp piece of card to ticket inspectors?
Why should the Perry Vale exit be shut before 3pm but open after 8pm?
Why rush ahead with ticket barriers when there are better solutions?

The Forest Hill Society recommends the following course of action:
  1. The Perry Vale gate should be open 24 hours a day, either manned or unmanned. It should not be closed again unless a buzzer is installed for passengers with limited mobility
  2. Southern and TfL need to install automatic ticket barriers on the Perry Vale side of the station either at the foot of the stair or at a new entrance at the Perry Vale car park
  3. Long term the Perry Vale exit needs to be fully accessible and the easiest way to achieve this is to create a new exit in the car park in Perry Vale, just a few metres from the existing platform
If you are around Forest Hill station next Friday at 5:30pm look out for Steve Bullock and possibly some railway officials and tell them what you think of what they have done to Forest Hill station. Recommended train to Forest Hill from London Bridge 17:25 - a service that is always busy and the majority of people are travelling to Forest Hill or Sydenham.

Please post comments regarding the changes at Forest Hill and we can pass them on to Steve Bullock and the rail authorities.

* Reference Sydenham Town Forum

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