Report by Tom Wright , Reporter
Sunday, April 29, 2012
FIRST Great Western (FGW) has defended its decision to charge commuters to park at Yatton train station following complaints from residents over an increase in off-street parking.
Motorists are charged £2.10-£2.30 per day to use the car park and residents said it has had a knock-on effect on people using nearby roads to park for free.
Steve Tyler, central area manager for FGW, said there was no prospect of the charges being removed.
He said: “When we introduce or increase charges at a car park, it is always going to cause upset.”
The increasing number of cars parked in the roadside could cause a safety issue according to residents at Yatton Parish Council’s AGM on Monday night.
Rhiannon Price-Owen, who runs the village PACT group, said many people were concerned.
She said: “Now there are charges to use the car park it has had a knock-on effect on streets in the surrounding area.
“We get commuters parking on the road and it is having a huge impact on community safety.”
Mr Tyler said he would continue to ask Network Rail to improve the car park’s state amid further complaints from residents.
But he said FGW had made great strides since it first took over the franchise in 2006.
He said: “It wasn’t the greatest start to a franchise as there weren’t enough carriages and they were not on time enough.”
But he claimed reliability has steadily improved with more than 90 per cent of trains on time in March.
The future however remains uncertain with a 15-year franchise up for grabs next year. Mr Tyler confirmed FGW would be bidding.
The Department of Transport will outline guidelines later this year details what train companies would have to provide. It could mean booking offices are closed to save costs.
Mr Tyler said it was an important decision with the electrification of the London to Bristol line due by 2016.
But with Weston not due to see its line electrified, Mr Tyler called for the decision to be reviewed.
He said: “Anyone who works in the rail industry knows that is somewhat stupid.”