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“Please help me persuade Southeastern to reopen the exit on platform 4 of Lewisham Station” – Katy Donnelly

Description

Katy Donnelly

Southeastern have closed this exit despite every public consultation opposing it. It forces many people on a long detour round the other side of the station. They say it is about fare evasion, but the gates at Lewisham are often open and unmanned anyway and Blackheath, one stop down the line, gets by with no gates at all. Please keep reminding Southeastern that their customers want this gate open and maybe they will finally listen.

Problem History

  • 1 Katy Donnelly reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 03:45 12 Aug 2011
  • 2 Katy Donnelly wrote to Southeastern close 03:45 12 Aug 2011

    Here is the letter that Katy Donnelly wrote.

    Closure of exit on platform 4 at Lewisham Station

    Every public consultation has opposed the closure of this exit. There have been petitions, letters and criticism from travelwatch but Southeastern continue to ignore what their customers want and forces many of them on a long detour out of other exits to the station. The only hope is that by continuing to raise it, Southeastern may eventually hear and show their customers some respect by reopening it. Claiming it is about fare evasion is a red herring as the gates at Lewisham are often open and unmanned anyway and Blackheath, one stop up the line, has no gates at all. All that is needed is an Oyster reader. Please reconsider.

  • 3 Maynard Frances responded to Katy Donnelly close 03:55 12 Aug 2011
    I am out of the office until Tuesday 16 August. Please contact another member of the customer relations team if your enquiry is urgent. Otherwise I will reply to your email upon my return.
    ******

    Southeastern is the trading name of London & South Eastern Railway Limited. London & South Eastern Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Govia Limited of which The Go-Ahead Group plc is a shareholder.

    London & South Eastern Railway Limited is registered in England and Wales with company number 04860660, The Go-Ahead Group plc is registered in England and Wales with company number 2100855 and Govia Limited is registered in England and Wales with company number 3278419. The registered office for each of the aforementioned companies is situated at 3rd Floor, 41-51 Grey Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 6EE.

    This email together with any file attached to it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error, please do not use or publish its contents, notify the originator of the email immediately then delete.

    Contracts cannot be concluded with us nor service effected by email. Emails are not secure and may contain viruses for which The Go-Ahead Group plc (and its subsidiaries) cannot be held responsible

    ******
  • 4 [email address] responded to Katy Donnelly close 17:41 30 Aug 2011
    Please do not reply to this email. We are unable to respond to
    emails we receive at this address. If you’d like to email us
    another question or comment please use our email contact
    webform:

    http://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/abo...

    Thank you

    Southeastern Customer Relations

    PO Box 63428, London, SE1P 5FD

    Tel: 0845 000 2222

    www.southeasternrailway.co.uk

    Ms Katy Donnelly

    [Reopen the exit on platform 4 of Lewisham Station email]

    Ref: 494864 / 256551

    30 August 2011

    Dear Ms Donnelly

    Thank you for your website comment which we received on 16
    August 2011.

    Lewisham station access

    I am sorry that you are unhappy with the closure of the side
    gate at Lewisham station.

    Having spoken with the Station Manager at Lewisham station, I
    understand that the side exit is closed after 7pm for safety and
    security reasons. To explain our position, ticket gates must be
    manned whilst in operation for safety reasons. As staffing
    levels at Lewisham are reduced after 7pm, keeping these
    additional gates open will not be possible. Although this
    decision will be reviewed on a regular basis, we have no plans
    to change the current position, and passengers will be required
    to use the main entrance at Lewisham station outside of peak
    hours for the foreseeable future.

    We do receive many letters about revenue protection issues, and
    we feel that the majority of customers favour vigorous
    inspection on our part. This is because travelling without a
    valid ticket results in higher train fares for all of our fare
    paying passengers. So, we are determined to ensure that the
    majority of our customers who are honest and always have a valid
    ticket are not subsidising the minority who travel without them.

    We do aim to respond positively to complaints where we can, so I
    am sorry to give you this disappointing news.

    Yours sincerely

    Daniel Westlake

    Customer Relations Officer

    Southeastern

    ***Your feedback is important to us, so we would be grateful for
    a minute of your time to complete our contact handling survey.
    Please click on the link below.***

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9XRZWVB

    Please do not reply to this email. We are unable to respond to
    emails we receive at this address. If you’d like to email us
    another question or comment please use our email contact
    webform:

    Disclaimer

    This e-mail and any attachments (together "this E-mail") are
    strictly confidential and intended solely for use by the
    individual or entity to whom they are addressed. Unauthorised
    use of this E-mail (including disclosure, copying and printing
    for any reason) is strictly prohibited.

    Southeastern denies any responsibility and liability in relation
    to the transmission and use of this e-mail to the extent
    permitted by law. Any views expressed by an individual within
    this e-mail do not necessarily reflect the views of
    Southeastern.

    Any e-mails sent to Southeastern personnel may be monitored by
    systems or persons other than the addressee for purposes of
    ascertaining whether they comply with Southeastern’s policies.

    If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the
    sender immediately by e-mail, facsimile or telephone.

    Please visit our website at: www.southeasternrailway.co.uk

    London & South Eastern Railway Limited is a company registered in England (No.04860660). 
    Registered office: 3rd Floor, 41-45 Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6EE.

  • 5 Tom Steinberg commented close 13:30 08 Sep 2011

    Hi Katy,

    I've just seen the response from South Eastern. The key words in my view are:

    " Although this decision will be reviewed on a regular basis, we have no plans
    to change the current position"

    If they *are* planning to review, then getting more supporters for your FixMyTransport page would be a good way of making the case that that they're not actually doing what the users want.

    You could try printing this, and putting it up somewhere that people who use the exit might see it: http://bit.ly/qd632j

    Please let us know how your attempts to get more supporters go!

    Tom

    anorak
    admin
  • 6 Paul S commented close 14:04 15 Nov 2011

    Two things to note here:

    1. Southeastern say they shut the gate "after 7pm". True, but they only open it at 4pm, and only on weekdays! I catch a train from Platform 4 most mornings and live that side of the station: it would cut my walk in half if the gate was open at 8.30am.

    2. There's a whole lot of history around this side of the station and its exit, which I heard via London Travelwatch a year or so ago when I contacted them about it. In summary, Southeastern consulted a few years ago on closing this gate off on the condition that, when they built the new stairs and lift from Platform 4, they opened a proper exit up at the bottom of those stairs, into the Tesco car park. After London Travelwatch had almost finished carrying out the consultation on that basis, Southeastern suddenly said they had no plans to put an exit in there after all, but would go ahead with cutting the hours of the existing side gate to 4-7pm, Mon-Fri.

    An exit from the bottom of the stairwell into Tesco's car park would be ideal, as it'd be wheelchair-accessible (unlike the current one) and would serve all the new housing that's been built nearby (and the future housing mooted for the remainder of the car park; and the redesigned Tesco whose main entrance will be on that side of the building).

    Perhaps Tesco could be cajoled into funding an exit there through a Section 106 agreement attached to their redesigning planning permission through Lewisham Council? There'd no doubt be revenue expenditure issues for Southeastern too but at least getting the exit built would be a start.

    In the mean time, of course they should open the existing gate at all times and fit it with an Oyster reader!

  • 7 Myf Nixon commented close 14:20 15 Nov 2011

    Thanks very much for this detailed analysis, Paul - most useful. Your suggestions are good ones, and should be put to the council. Perhaps Katy should go to London Travelwatch, and her local councillor, as well. This issue is going to need some powerful support. I'll dig out the relevant email addresses.

    (I'm curious - did you find this campaign via our brand new 'reports near me' button?)

    anorak
    admin
  • 8 Myf Nixon advised Katy to write to Lewisham Council. close 14:23 15 Nov 2011

    Hi Katy,
    On the back of Paul's suggestions, I've found a few email addresses for you, should you wish to take this campaign further. With 15 people having put their name to this page, I think you're in an excellent position to show the need for this gate to be kept open.

    So here's the email address for the council first of all. I've copied and pasted your original report, but you'll want to add a few lines, and don't forget to put a link to your campaign page as well so that they can see the subsequent debate.

    Good luck!

    Myf Nixon

    anorak
    admin
  • 9 Myf Nixon advised Katy to write to London Travelwatch. close 14:26 15 Nov 2011

    Here's the email address for London Travelwatch, "the independent, statutory watchdog for transport users in and around London. We speak for all London transport users on all modes of transport. We look into complaints from people unhappy with the response they have received from their transport provider".

    You will probably want to refer to the background that Paul mentions.

    Myf Nixon

    anorak
    admin
  • 10 Myf Nixon advised Katy to write to Len Duvall. close 14:29 15 Nov 2011

    And here is the email address for Len Duvall, who is your local London Assembly member. One of his responsibilities is for public transport, so you are entitled to ask for his support on this issue.

    I hope one of these avenues works for you!

    anorak
    admin
  • 11 Paul S commented close 16:50 15 Nov 2011

    @Myf: Yes, I did use the new tool - very good! And of course it's that side of the station's proximity to my home post code that's my reason for being so irritated by the closure and non-existence of its gates, real and (no longer) proposed!

    As a further point in relation to Tesco, I had a look on Lewisham Council's online planning applications site and I can't see anything up there from Tesco yet, although it's not the easiest site to search so I may have missed something. Tesco have a web site about their plans here: http://www.tescolewisham.co.uk/ so you can see what they have lined up and how good a fit it would be for the station to have an entrance/exit at the side of the Platform 4 stairwell.

    I guess if we alert our local councillors to this issue and put forward the Section 106 idea now, as and when a planning application is raised, they will be forearmed with the suggestion, and can perhaps let us know when the application comes in so we can respond to it formally as well. I do know the local councillors so will drop them a line myself when I have a chance as well and tell them about this page.

    (I have no idea whether Section 106 can be used for this but I do know that some councils do get an awful lot of good stuff paid for out of such agreements in return for granting planning permission to big schemes, so it's worth a go!)

  • 12 Myf Nixon commented close 16:57 15 Nov 2011

    Brilliant, thanks Paul! It seems like such a small thing - I hope your efforts get results.

    anorak
    admin
  • 13 Anne Lane commented close 20:38 15 Nov 2011

    When they refurbished they chose not to install ticket gates or oyster readers on platform 4. At Hither Green, another busy station, the side exit at the end of the platform is always open and just has an oyster card reader. Greenwich station has no ticket gates at all and no staff checking tickets, again just oyster readers. Why does Southeastern see Lewisham residents as more dishonest than others? I think we're just as good citizens as our neighbours!

    In the 17 years I have lived here my access to the station has gradually been reduced: first the path up the side of platform 3 was removed meaning a longer walk round (slightly relieved currently by the temporary open space where the pub used to be) then the platform 4 slope, having been renovated, was closed. This adds about 10 minutes to my walk home - I literally live on the wrong side of the tracks as far as Southeastern is concerned!

  • 14 Katy Donnelly added an update close 11:50 16 Nov 2011

    Hi,

  • 15 Katy Donnelly added an update close 11:57 16 Nov 2011

    Hi, just to let you know that I have in the past been in contact with Travelwatch (copy of their response below) and the Council (who were supportive) and I am also aware that our MP Heidi Alexander has campaigned on this. As you will see from the response I got from SouthEastern the last time I wrote to them, their response just illustrates they are not prepared to listen (and in my view the tone and content of the letter just illustrates the extent of the contempt they regard customers with. Here is the letter from Travel Watch Our Ref: 31453 / D


02 July 2009





 Dear Miss Donnelly

 Lewisham station: Proposed closure of platform 4 access ramp 
Thank you for contacting us with regards to the above proposal. The consultation period on this issue ended 22 June 2009 and we have now had the opportunity to consider all the representations we have received on this matter.

The enclosed letter sets out our conclusions and has been sent to Southeastern and the Department for Transport for their consideration. The final decision on how best to address the concerns we have raised on behalf of transport users, now rests with them.

In order to help us to monitor how well we are meeting the needs of transport users in the London area, I should be grateful if you would please complete our questionnaire which we will be sending to you separately. In the meantime, if you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely 



Roxanne Aisthorpe 
Casework Support Officer I will post a copy of the letter Travelwatch sent SouthEastern in a separate post



  • 16 Katy Donnelly added an update close 11:59 16 Nov 2011

    Here is the letter Travelwatch sent SouthEastern when they consulted on the closure. Mike Gibson Public Affairs Manager Southeastern Railways Friars Bridge Court 41-45 Blackfriars Road London SE1 8PG Dear Mike, Lewisham station: Proposed closure of platform 4 access ramp Thank you for extending the consultation period to 22nd June 2009, regarding the proposed closure of platform 4 access ramp at Lewisham station. As we were asked by yourself to be the 'independent' co-ordinator for all the relevant responses, the purpose of this letter is to give you feedback of the responses we have received and our recommendations on the issues raised by this consultation. In general terms London TravelWatch accepts and supports the installation of automatic ticket barriers at Lewisham station to support the introduction of the Oyster Pay As You Go on the Southeastern network and the Access for All scheme, however, the proposal as it stands give us a number of concerns. We would also ask that you review the opening hours of passenger facilities such as toilets and re-examine the possibilities for improving passenger safety through better lighting and wider access in underpasses and the extension of closed circuit television coverage. Consultation process Our initial concern is the weakness of the consultation process itself. In particular, the initial information provided to London TravelWatch failed to outline the full impact of the proposals on passengers of the proposed developments and closures and at later stages we were misled over proposals to create a new entrance/exit to Tesco Car Park. We were first made aware of the plans when a proposal was received from Network Rail on 25th February 2009, regarding the Access for All project currently taking place. We did not object to this proposal given the demand and high frequency of passengers with mobility impairment who use the station on a regular basis. However, we would like to stress that the proposal made no mention of the proposed closure of the platform 4 access ramp and the proposed gating scheme; thus we found Network Rail were not aware of the plan to permanently close the access ramp. After being informed of the proposed closure of the access ramp, we stated our concern that if this ramp was to be closed permanently this would have a significant impact on passengers, causing major inconvenience especially during peak hours. However, at this stage you also informed us that a new exit/entrance would be constructed to connect platform 4 with Tesco's car park by Network Rail which would allow access/egress to the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) concourse area via the subway. This was confirmed in your email of 28th April 2009 which stated that the current ramp would remain open until the new staircase, lifts and barriers via Tesco's car park were operational. From the commencement of the consultation, local councillors and local stakeholders were informed that the platform 4 access ramp would be closed permanently. As a result we received a number of complaints opposing this closure, with the majority of these complainants being from residents living to the north of Lewisham Road and west of the railway line. Initially, we informed complainants that it was your intention to install a new gate line and that an alternative exit/entrance gate line would be constructed with access via the Tesco's car park. We were then informed by the Blackheath Society that in a letter to them you had stated that, in view of budget constraints, the new gate line via Tesco's would not be constructed. However, the project manager (Mike Crane) told us subsequently that it had never been intended to provide an entrance / exit at this location. It is of great concern to us that having asked us to act as independent co-ordinators of public comments on this scheme that we were given conflicting information and in a number of cases had passed on information to users that were clearly inaccurate. We received a number of complaints that there had been inadequate publicity about the proposals and that local people had been given insufficient notice of the closure of the ramp. We are pleased that, at this stage, additional publicity was produced and that you agreed to extend the consultation period to 22nd June 2009. However, we hope that Southeastern learns lessons from this process about the need to have greater clarity about what is proposed that sufficient time is given to undertake consultation and the need to ensure that publicity is displayed prominently on its stations. Representations & Objections To date, London TravelWatch has received 114 email complaints, 14 letter complaints and a petition of 378 signatures all objecting to the proposed closure of the access ramp off platform 4. The majority of objections came from residents who live to the north of Lewisham Road and made objections for the following reasons:- A number of passengers raised concerns about personal safety as they do not feel safe using the replacement subway either alone or late in the evening. * The closure of the ramp would significantly increase walking times. In particular, using the existing and replacement subways to walk between Platform 4 and Tesco's or Lewisham Road would take an additional 4-7 minutes to the passenger's journey time. * While the ramp is not a step-free access to the station, passengers with mobility impairments (e.g. limited walking ability, using buggies or carrying luggage) would be significantly disadvantaged by its closure. Conclusions and Recommendations We have concluded that closure of the existing Platform 4 access ramp should only be permitted concurrently to the opening of a replacement entrance / exit gateline at the base of the new stairwell / lift for platform 4 into the Tesco's car park. It appears that your principle reason for proposing the closure of platform 4 access ramp is to protect against revenue loss and whilst this may be laudable aim, the proposal as it stands does not adequately address issues relating to passenger convenience or provide significant passenger benefit. In particular the impact on overall journey times to passengers of the longer alternative walking routes that you have proposed is not acceptable, given that typical journey times by train from Lewisham to central London are between 10 and 18 minutes (to London Bridge or Charing Cross). An additional journey time of approximately 4 minutes in each direction for users as you are proposing will be a significant deterrent to using the rail network to and from Lewisham, particularly from the Lewisham Road or Lewisham Hill areas. Southeastern's own passenger count states that the following number of passengers currently use the ramp access: We note that the number using the ramp exceeds the number using the current underpass. We consider that, while the provision of a new improved underpass linked to the DLR is likely to reduce these numbers to some extent, a significant number of passengers will still be significantly inconvenienced by the closure of the access ramp. We also believe that given the significant developments proposed North and East of the station (and in particular any redevelopment of the Tesco store and car park) that it would be in the commercial interest of Southeastern as well as providing significant passenger benefits if an entrance / exit could be provided via the Tesco car park. In addition we observed that most trains stopping at Platform 4 currently stop at the "country end" meaning that a large number of passengers have to walk back to use the existing exits from the station. We would like Southeastern to consider changing the stopping position on the platform which would enable passengers to board and alight from trains at the wider part of the platform and nearer to the existing exits. It is also of concern that the access from the new underpass will channel a significant number of passengers on to Station Road, and that this raises road safety concerns. In particular, the current pathway from Lewisham Road is quite narrow. We note that even at present passengers leaving the station often spill out on to the road at this point in front of buses and taxis in particular. We consider that Southeastern should undertake urgent discussions with Lewisham Council on installing crossing points and widening footways at this location. We believe that Lewisham as a prime transport interchange in South East London and requires a coherent development plan involving DLR, PCO, London Buses, Lewisham Council and Southeastern. While it is perhaps an historic accident that the main entrance is some distance away from the community it serves, little seems to have been done to seriously look at bus stopping arrangements, walking routes, cycle parking and routes and a route for wheelchairs. The approach to date appears to have been piecemeal and lacking in strategic direction. An example of this is that the former Southeastern booking office is currently boarded up rather than being opened up as a passenger waiting room or let out to commercial tenants, and while gating is introduced by Southeastern, the DLR station remains an open station. If however, you are unable to provide an alternative access to platform 4 from the Tesco's car park with gateline, we would recommend that a Oyster reader is provided at the entrance / exit to the retained access ramp, and that you also consider placing a Ticket Vending Machine also at this location. I enclose copies of all the representations that we received. We will shortly be writing to all those who responded to the consultation with a copy of this response attached. If you have any queries on the content of this letter please do not hesitate to contact me. Yours sincerely Tim Bellenger Director - Research and Development

  • 17 Katy Donnelly added an update close 12:01 16 Nov 2011

    And here is the is the letter from Southeastern in response to me raising the issue (This is not edited - this is really the full extent of their considered response!) Dear Ms Donnelly Thank you for your website comment dated 19 January. I am sorry to hear that our closing of the ramped exit from platform 4 at Lewisham station causes you an inconvenience. I regret that we are unable to keep the exit open at all times. Thank you for taking the time to contact us. Yours sincerely Jamie Martin Customer Relations Southeastern

  • 18 Katy Donnelly added an update close 12:12 16 Nov 2011

    I have also tweeted about this as @kcd27 - please retweet to encourage people to sign up. I am not a prolific tweeter and only have 3 followers (!) so need people with a slightly higher profile to help!

  • 19 Katy Donnelly added an update close 12:32 16 Nov 2011

    And finally, I have emailed Cllr Alan Smith - the Cabinet Member in Lewisham with responsibility for transport to make him aware of this discussion. I will post any response.

  • 20 Myf Nixon commented close 12:37 16 Nov 2011

    Hi Katy,
    Thanks for all these detailed and informative updates - fab!

    Your tweet seems to cut off the link to the page when it's retweeted, unfortunately, but I've put it out with a shortened link of http://ow.ly/7veKr. Let's hope it gets you some more supporters.

    anorak
    admin
  • 21 Dave H commented close 12:46 17 Nov 2011

    Not spotted this going round on the @_southeastern unofficial twitter feed - set up in the vacuum of Southeastern's dire delivery of reliable and honest (there are often muliple 'reasons' for the same delay which suggests that some are spurious) information of the way services are running. the service that is officially provided is a low budget automated one, which is often out of sync with the actual developing situation. Hence the couthy twitter feed of @_southeastern provides operating information, logs the broken toilets, and other defects for the extended periods these appear to run around, and makes the occasional comment on the impact of fellow passengers on the experience of the journey.

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Lewisham Rail Station in Lewisham operated by Southeastern
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