Parking and stations need improvement, say passengers

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The Independent Online

Toilets, waiting rooms and train arrival times are the things rail passengers most want to see improved at stations, a report today showed.

Train travellers are also unhappy about bicycle and car parking facilities at stations, the report from rail customer watchdog Passenger Focus found.

Based on a survey of passengers at 25 stations, the report showed there were high levels of dissatisfaction with the condition of toilets, station facilities and the availability of waiting rooms.

Satisfaction levels were lowest with cycle- and car-parking facilities, while the things passengers considered the most important at stations included good staffing levels, updates on train times and platforms, and toilets.

Passenger Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said: "This research backs up what passengers tell us time and time again. Station staff and plenty of information are crucial to passengers as they offer reassurance, security and advice and therefore should be key in planning.

"Passengers continue to ask for more toilets and better facilities. We want the industry to start listening and act on passengers' requests."

The 25 stations in the survey included Carmarthen in Wales, Horsham in West Sussex, Chester in Cheshire and Penzance in Cornwall.

The 25 are among 150 small and medium-sized stations in England and Wales which are part of a Government national station improvement plan.

A spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies said the stations in the Passenger Focus report had already been identified as among the most in need of improvement.

The spokesman added: "We would expect to see a significant rise in passenger satisfaction once the (improvement) work has been carried out later this year."