A commuter feels cyclists have been let down by a lack of facilities at Fleet’s new-look station.
Andrew Reeves-Hall is upset the major £6 million station upgrade by South West Trains (SWT) has largely ignored people who cycle to and from the station.
“Fleet station used to have a secure bicycle storage facility on the platform next to the old station house, but that was demolished soon after the rebuilding works began so I asked whether it would be making a return,” said Mr Reeves-Hall, 46.
He fired off his questions to SWT’s customer service centre but got no reply so enlisted the help of his MP, Sir George Young, copying in Fleet MP James Arbuthnot. His MP got a reply from SWT managing director, Tim Shoveller.
Mr Shovellor’s response stated that the cycle storage at the station was a ‘very new scheme’ and the final details had not yet been finalised. He said passengers would be updated when this information was complete.
Mr Reeves-Hall said: “I’m not clear on what Mr Shoveller is getting at there because South West Trains have won awards in 2011 for their secure cycle compounds and they had secure cycle storage at Fleet already.
“During construction over the past year, people who cycle have received no special attention – unlike the people eligible to use new ‘VIP’ car parking spaces – and indeed saw their cycle facilities closed off, or in the case of the secure storage, removed altogether.”
Mr Reeves-Hall, who travels from his home in Whitchurch to Fleet station and then cycles to work at Ancells Business Park, also asked about signage at the bus and taxi drop-off/pick-up area in front of the entrance to the new station.
“The signs state that only taxis and buses may enter but why not people on bicycles?" he asked.
“Tim said ‘there is no signage in place and indeed nor should it be used by cyclists unless doing so recklessly as the area is used for bus pick up and turning, in addition to the taxi use. Cycles can be ridden along the same road as cars use, or pushed along the footpath’.
“This from the company that won the 2013 Cycle-Rail Operator of the Year award for their ‘constant innovation and positive customer attitude’,” said Mr Reeves-Hall.
“It is a shame Mr Shoveller didn’t think to accommodate space for cycling – say a dedicated, segregated path – in his plans for the front entrance to his spiffy new station.”
Mr Reeves-Hall said hundreds of people walk and cycle to the station every day.
“They should put back all the bicycle parking that was taken out last year, and create the additional 48 bicycle spaces stated in the plans.”
Mr Reeves-Hall said SWT recently sent him a plan of the forecourt dated July 2014 and marked ‘preliminary’.
He added the draft plan has a ‘heavy focus’ on motor vehicles, with 74 new parking spaces for cars or taxis, and an unstated number for motorcycles.
“In short, there is no proper, segregated space for cycling in this draft plan,” said Mr Reeves-Hall.