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Extra £30,000 to be spent at Southend East station
8:00am Wednesday 28th August 2013 in News
A RAIL firm has agreed to make changes at Southend East station after complaints by passengers about a £500,000 revamp – but it will cost a further £30,000.
Customers have criticised the extra spend needed which they say could have easily been avoided if they had been consulted in the first place.
c2c made major improvements to the station, in Southchurch, which were completed in May.
These included installing barriers to stop fare dodging.
However, passengers soon came to the Echo to complain after long queues were building up at the Riviera Drive entrance, because of the new ticket machine.
Following the Echo’s story last month, c2c bosses met up with concerned residents.
During the meeting they agreed to install a second machine for Riviera Drive, and another on the Ambleside Drive side, plus c2c bosses said they will upgrade the existing two to ensure all types of tickets can be purchased from them.
Commuter Paul Ilett, 43, of Lovelace Gardens, Southend, has criticised the extra cost.
He said: “As a result of c2c not consulting passengers and not getting its figures right, it is now having to spend an extra £30,000 on better and additional facilities.
“The problems we’ve been facing of queues and not being able to access the staffed ticket office could have been avoided if we’d been part of discussions.
“People have been very angry at the queues and these extra machines will go some way to making right a bad job.”
c2c said the cost was £15,000 for each new ticket machine and an upgrade of software.
Passengers had been getting to the front of a queue and were not able to buy a range of tickets, such as Family Savers.
Mum-of-one Angela Wilson, 31, of Hamstel Road, Southend, said she was disappointed to learn at the meeting that the access issues to the Shoebury bound platform were not being addressed.
Mrs Wilson, who is seven months pregnant and uses a buggy for her first child, said: “They said their contract is not up for renewal until September 2014 and nothing would happen until then, so it’s more than a year away. Essentially, I can’t use the train until they put a ramp in and neither can anyone with a wheelchair or buggy.”
Hugh Jennings, c2c head of retail who met with the passengers, said: “The upgrade at Southend East earlier this year has made the station a more pleasant environment, with more staff available, and a reduction in vandalism and fare evasion.
“We’ve been monitoring passenger usage since the new gates were installed, and we recognise that at the height of rush hour queues have occasionally built up.
“That’s why we met local residents to discuss their concerns, and why we’re installing an additional ticket machine on the Riviera Drive side of the station to deal with this.”
He added they had expected people to cross the public bridge and buy their tickets at the shorter queues on the London-bound side of the platform.
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