Shotton Station Travel Plan
Shotton Rail Station is located in Flintshire where the Borderlands Line crosses the North Wales Coast Line. All passenger services are operated by Arriva Trains Wales, who manage the station. The station is on the lines between Manchester and Llandudno, and between Wrexham and Bidston.
The station plays a significant local role with regard to public transport accessibility, not only through the destinations served from the station and its (largely unfulfilled) interchange facilities, but also through the close links to some key employment centres for the region. Shotton rail station is the closest station to Airbus Broughton (BAE Systems) and Deeside Industrial Estate (Corus Steel, Toyota, Convatec etc) both major employers in the area.
Need for a Travel Plan
Pedestrian access to the station is good with a puffin crossing on Chester Road West, allowing pedestrians to access the station from both sides of the High Street, although the walkways linking the two lines are aesthetically unattractive, and may raise fears of security.
At the begining of the pilot scheme Shotton station had parking facilities for just two bicycles, provided in the form of bike bins, which at time of carrying out a station audit were not available on demand, and access is gained by contacting the Local Authority. There were no on-highway cycle provisions on Chester Road West surrounding the station, which may reflect the poor facilities at the station for cyclists.
The nearest bus stop is visible from the station entrance on Chester Road West, and there is a small map in the station which highlights where the bus stop locations are. Signage indicating where the bus stops are from the North Wales line is limited. The station has a free car park for 20 spaces, often full, and there is also a free car park on the opposite side of the Chester Road West, which serves as a free town centre car park. This has spaces for 50 cars and was only half full at time of audit.
The car park is advertised as a park and ride, but only outside the station car park and not from Chester Road West, which is the main road running through Shotton. The station is located within a residential area, with free parking on the surrounding roads. There are currently no issues between station users and local residents.
Description of the process
The stakeholders leading on this project have been Flintshire County Council, the Borderlands Community Rail Partnership, Arriva Trains Wales, Arriva North West, Sustrans and Taith (the consortium of North Wales transport authorities). There is also interest in the project from the Welsh Assembly Government.
The client group commissioned consultants Faber Maunsell to conduct a site audit, consult with other key stakeholders, produce both the high level and a number of smart (Specific Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound) objectives for the travel plan and develop the action plan for delivering these objectives.
Following this a senior officer from Flintshire County Council's Transportations Unit and the Borderlands Line Community Rail Officer, worked together with key stakeholders to deliver some of the initial actions in the plan.
Action Plan highlights
Public transport develop a station user group. This group could meet quarterly to discuss issues/improvements/ticketing options at the station.
Provide more outlets for integrated ticketing. For example; ATVM - Automatic Ticket Vending Machines. These would then sell Arriva Trains Wales and bus weekly, daily and monthly tickets.
Introduce a Demand Responsive Transport shuttle with the station. The current DRT service would utilise the small one way system on Alexandra Street.
Promotion of the new Taith Car Sharing website operated by lift share.
To increase the already higher than the national benchmark of car sharers to the station.
Install new public highway directional signs at Shotton station. As the station has multiple padestrian and cycle way entrance points in addition to the main street entrance.
Increase footfall to Shotton Railway Station in conjunction with the station redevelopment to improve the image and appeal of the station and it's customer facilities.
Increase the promotion of the railway station after redevelopment.
Possible through free journey planning and/or setting up new appealing ticket types.
Key lessons learned
An important learning curve in the begining of this pilot was effecively organising collaborative team work. Difficulties arose when the lead Transport officer at Flintshire County Council departed for a post in another organisation and additionally the regional travel planning officer leaving for maternity leave. This created delays, and highlighted that a project leader is essential and regular meetings required to keep momentum with the number of stakeholders, (partner organisations including private and public sector organisations) required to input and contribute, to effectively achieve the key improvement objectives.
This was overcome through regular contact through the community rail officer and Arriva Trains Wales officers in conjunction, with the station redevelopment. As the station re-development moved through it's two phases with a nine month delay from phase one to pase two. The re-development included, automated ticket vending machines, new infrastructure such as passenger waiting shelters, new fencing, widened footpaths and cycle shelters
The re-development of the station assisted the station travel plan work. Giving the required time for lead officers and stakeholders to plan and carry out the work requried to achieve the next steps in the travel plan and to schedule. With target aims of the travel plan being worked on in time to co-incide with the official opening of the railway station.
For instance new marketing material "Travel to Shotton" containing details of a new Plusbus ticket was developed to co-incide with the official opening of the railway station ticket office at the end of phase two re-development. This in turn ensured bus stops markings and bus stop information was also improved in a timely manner to co-incide with the end of phase two development and the official launch of the new station with new marketing leaflet.