11 March 2008

Perry Vale residents locked out of the station

The latest news on increased accessibility for Forest Hill station is that when Oyster readers come into operation, in January 2009, the gate to Perry Vale will be kept shut throughout the day, only opening during evening peaks. During those evening peaks members of staff will be on hand to read every persons' Oyster card with handheld readers (from 3pm until the end of the peak).

This system would create delays for passengers exiting the Perry Vale exit as a member of staff checks every Oyster card. It is questionable whether staff would be willing to stand in the rain, snow, or freezing/boiling temperatures for hours at a time and trains every five minutes. In reality this system is likely to lead to the gates being closed and for passengers to get soaked while the cross the railway twice (over the bridge and then through the underpass).

Southern Railways have started work on implementation by making space for the gates at the ticket hall and then the barriers need to be installed by TfL. But the plans for the southbound platform are as described above.

The Forest Hill Society, along with Councillor Paschoud, are putting pressure on Southern Railways and others involved in the Oyster implementation to avoid shutting the gate. There are two alternatives that we would prefer:
  1. Oyster reader available at the Perry Vale exit for pre-pay customers to swipe in and out, similar to the system in place until recently at New Cross Gate. This would allow the exit to remain open as it does today.
  2. A new exit onto Perry Vale car park providing staffed ticket barriers all day and an accessible entrance to the station on the Perry Vale side of the station.
Further problems will occur at Sydenham and Brockley where the exits on the northbound (Sydenham) and southbound (Brockley) platforms will be remotely operated for disabled passengers only. Of course once these gates are opened there will be nobody to stop other passengers flooding through the gates. Honor Oak Park station should be fairly straightforward as a single set of barriers can be placed in the ticket hall.

We will keep you updated regarding progress on this matter.


Anonymous said...

this seems a system designed to maximise inconvenience for just about everyone concerned - train users who would otherwise use the PV gate will have to go over, then back under, just to get back where they started. Other users will have to put up with many more people using the bridge - and the staff will have to put up with annoyed commuters! Good luck with your efforts to make the powers that be see sense - is there anywhere individuals can write to about this?

John said...

I have already had an assurance (since the meeting this evening) from Cllr Heidi Alexander (Deputy Mayor) that she will be tackling Southern 'at a higher level' via the Council's Strategic Transport Liaison.

I also contacted Len Duvall's office at the GLA, and I'm pretty sure he will want to be involved in the site meetings (for which Barry is circulating possible dates), and will support the alternatives we've proposed that keep the Perry Vale entrance open to Forest Hill Station.

Anonymous said...

I've sent a strongly worded email to Southern. Let's see what they say. I bet it'll be a masterpiece of corporate nothing-saying.

Anonymous said...

Do they really expect parents with young children to drag the buggies up and down all those stairs??? I will certainly complain about this.

Anonymous said...

How ridiculous for those of us living on the south side of the tracks. And as normal no thought given to those less able bodied individuals or those travelling with heavy bags, luggage, buggies etc. Why can't they put in a proper automatic gate at the Perry Vale entrance, or even better an ramped entrance and do away with the stairs altogether. Also why should those of wishing to travel southbound be forced to use even more stairs.