Representatives from South West Trains management and SWT Passenger Panel visited Crewkerne Railway Station last Friday, where they met and engaged with customers. During their visit, the new ticket machine, with a live video link to a control centre in Basingstoke, was showcased with demonstrations given to customers and Friends of Crewkerne Station.
Crewkerne is one of 91 railway stations across the South West Trains network to receive a live video link ticket machine. By hitting the ‘Help Me’ button, passengers can receive ‘face-to-face’ advice on planning a rail journey, ask a specially trained staff member to take control of the screen and complete the purchase of a ticket, if and when needed and obtain up-to-date information on train delays and cancellations. The new ticket machine is fully operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Friday’s demonstration, showed the need for the new technology to assist at times when the station booking office is closed and not to act as a replacement. An enquiry made by Jane Gibbons of Friends of Crewkerne Station, regarding the arrival time of the 11.19hrs train to Waterloo, resulted in some confusion. The staff member on the live video link was polite and helpful, advising that the train had been cancelled at Pinhoe, due to barrier crossing problems. The next train to Waterloo would be the 12.19hrs, one hour later than scheduled. This information conflicted with that of the booking office clerk at Crewkerne station, who announced that the train had just left Honiton and would be arriving at 11.47hrs.
For passengers travelling to London on business, the difference between a 28 minute delay and 1 hour wait is crucial. Friends of Crewkerne Station are closely monitoring the situation but have been assured by SWT that there will be no reduction in the current staffing levels at the railway station. Tony Reese of Friends of Crewkerne Station told Crewkerne Headlines And Topics: “We have made it clear to South West Trains that we would not expect any reduction in the physical presence of staff and they have assured us many times, that they have no plans to reduce the staffing even further.
Siobahn Neligan, Customer Experience Improvement Manager at SWT Network Rail Alliance, welcomed Friday morning’s feedback from passengers and concerned locals. Packets of sweets were handed out by Val Robertson of SWT Passenger Panel, along with the chance to win £100 travel vouchers, by completing a short online feedback survey. The booking office at Crewkerne Railway Station is currently open, with a member of staff present, on Mondays to Fridays from 5.50am until 12.20pm and on Saturdays from 7.30am until 12.30pm. It is closed on Sundays.