August 2009 in Train Operations
Restricted emergency access into Bolton station from the car park located behind platform five has been highlighted by one reporter. It has been noted on a daily basis that passengers are parking their cars at random in the car park because there are no designated parking bays. This is resulting in cars being parked across several bays blocking access for other vehicles.
The reporter is concerned that if cars are blocking the access from the car park to platform five of the station it will prevent the emergency services from getting though in the event of an emergency. This route is the quickest and easiest access to the platforms at the station.
The reporter would like Northern to allocate and mark out parking bays appropriately so that cars can park in designated spaces.
Northern are already aware of the issues with parking at Bolton station and have already been in discussion with Greater Manchester Fire Service about concerns with emergency access and have been working up an enforcement strategy for the station. The root cause of the issue is a lack of adequate parking capacity at the station, but this does not excuse illegal parking.
The first part of our strategy has entailed lining out the car park, with markings being painted on the walls where it is not possible to mark out the floor, and "no parking‟ areas have been clearly indicated
In addition to this a car park enforcement exercise took place on 30th April from 05.00am. All passengers were stopped in a 'road block' situation, handed specially prepared leaflets about parking restrictions, and advised of where to and where not to park. This approach is a standard safe system of work based upon highways agency principles, and is the first step to educating customers on parking restrictions.
The car park was full except disabled bays by 07:20 and was closed off . Access was permitted for permit holders and deliveries and drop off and pick ups.
This process was replicated on Friday 1 May and Tuesday 5 May and will continue on Wednesday 6 May. On Thursday 7 May and Friday 8 May this action will change to monitoring, and warning notices will be issued to customers who park incorrectly. This two stage action will hopefully educate the majority of customers on the correct way to park.
From Monday 11 May full penalty parking enforcement will commence for any vehicle parked contrary to the bylaws.
We have received a couple of adverse comments about this approach, but this has been outweighed by a number of customers who have welcomed our approach, having had previous experience of being blocked in, and we now hope that the combination of signage, education and enforcement will eliminate the parking problems at Bolton.
In the longer term, we continue to explore options with Network Rail and other stakeholders to expand the car parking capacity at Bolton.