Last month I had the chance to raise the concerns of constituents to demand better access to Waverley Station at the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee. I had previously submitted comments to the Committee.
I was able to raise the specific issues constituents have brought to me regarding the problems of access at Waverley Station. It’s frustrating that while a huge amount of investment has gone into improving capacity at the station, people still face very basic access barriers.
Passengers need to get access to stations; get in and out of them easily, and get on and off trains easily. However, I’ve heard the experiences of one constituent with mobility problems who was left in the cold for 20 minutes at the Calton Road entrance, waiting for someone to help her into the station, even though she had alerted the station in advance. Other constituents have reported problems negotiating their way round the station due to a lack of effective signage.
I recently met with senior staff in Waverley Station along with two of my constituents, one of whom has a physical disability and uses a wheelchair and the other who is blind. It was great to be able to demonstrate to the staff just what the barriers were, with my constituents able to explain why the station wasn’t working for them.
It was useful to be able to feed their experiences directly to the new head of the Scotrail/Abellio Franchise at the Infrastructure Committee inquiry and good to hear that he also expected to address the issue of improving cycle access to the station.
In addition I was able to raise the problems on the ramps in and out of the station. There is currently a real issue with cyclists having to share a very small space with pedestrians. I know from personal experience what little space there is for people struggling with luggage, bikes or children.
The interest in improving cycle access to the station was demonstrated when 120 people turned out to a recent SPOKES meeting I chaired. They were interested not just in improving access to stations but improving integration generally. The new Borders railway was seen as an important opportunity given the range of cycle routes that will be accessible. You can see the exciting new plans for the Scotrail network here.
Later this month I will be following up on the campaign with another meeting at Waverley, this time to talk specifically about changes that can be made to improve bike accessibility.