Latest figures of passenger usage at Abbey Wood station continue to show further high levels of passenger growth. There was an increase of 19.3% in March 2019 compared to the same month last year.
While 2018 had the so-called “beast from the east” these numbers do continue a pattern of very strong increases in counted passengers since TfL took over management and begun staffing the station from first to last train alongside barriers.
March 2019 saw 281,825 people touch in and out compared to 236,274 last March. This is the pattern of growth since TfL took over with some months showing growth above 50%.
What’s even more impressive about these numbers is they come with a reducing local population as people move out of Thamesmead estates in advance of demolition.
If stations such as Woolwich Arsenal were staffed all day the increases could be vast. It’s the same with Greenwich and Deptford. In reality there’s many across the Southeastern Metro network. This was a key element of TfL’s argument to take over SE Metro lines. The potential untapped revenue could be vast.
A greater number of staff present all-day is likely to be a key contributor to increased passenger numbers. People who could previously evade fares easily must now pay, and others who were wary of travelling due to unstaffed stations at night may now feel more comfortable doing so.
The excellent London Reconnections site yesterday published an article looking at how women use public transport. Feelings of safety using rail are a key factor in some deciding whether or not to do so and staff and barriers are essential to encourage usage. As the article states: “Half of women surveyed felt unsafe travelling on a train, waiting at a bus stop and walking to the bus stop. The figures for men surveyed were broadly at least half the percentages of women”.
This site has written regularly about some of the benefits TfL were proposing if Southeastern Metro routes were devolved and adequate funding available. Key to that was encouraging more usage through enhanced safety and staffing along with lower fares through by adopting the TfL fare scale.
When Grayling blocked plans for devolution I hoped local councils would shout loudly and lobby on both key issues. They have been barely mentioned which I’ve found incredibly disappointing.
Incidentally, regarding the TfL fare-scale, passengers from Abbey Wood to areas such as Stratford are now paying less than from Southeastern stations such as Plumstead. Abbey Wood to Stratford is now £1.50 off-peak or £1.70 peak. At Plumstead it’s £2.30 off-peak and £2.70 peak. That could be a factor in increase usage of Abbey Wood.
Back to the London Reconnections article and there’s key differences in how men and women travel, with women often having shorter journeys linked together and frequently on foot and with children.
This touches another point often raised on this site constantly about improving walking links, such as around Westcombe Park station and from east Greenwich to the Peninsular.
Of course everyone would benefit from more investment in safer and more attractive walking routes, yet the article makes the claim that male-dominated thinking may be behind poor design which ignores many users. Robust research in a compelling argument states women are punished through poor design to a greater degree.
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