11/12/2015 - Passenger study will help shape future redevelopment of Inverness rail station
The findings of a survey of passengers using Inverness rail station will help inform plans for the proposed redevelopment of the busy transport hub.
The survey ran between 21 – 31 July of this year and attracted 755 responses (a 28% return). At that time of the year, 71% of those who responded were using the service for leisure purposes. 17% were commuters and 11% business people.
Attentive staff were commended by rail users, 75% of whom were satisfied with their experience of using the station. Only 6% were dissatisfied.
The survey highlighted the need for the station to be given an enhanced look and feel; feature more retail outlets; increased and improved seating; enhanced signage and more user-friendly ticket gate arrangements.
The survey was carried out for HITRANS, the regional transport partnership for the Highlands and Islands, by Transport Focus in association with market research company, Populus.
HITRANS Chairman Councillor James Stockan said: “Our research is designed to inform a long-term plan for the development of the station so that it can meet the demands for the future, including the substantial growth in services and passengers, and the potential for electrification. This has been boosted by a proposal from Abellio ScotRail to invest in the station; the decision of Serco Caledonian Sleepers to base their main office in Inverness; and the planned introduction of the Virgin East Coast Inter City Express trains.
“We hope to improve the appearance of the three station entrances, improving connectivity between the bus and rail stations, and, in the longer term, increasing platform capacity. Passenger views are central to this planning process and the findings of this major survey will be of great assistance in determining where the available funding will be spent. A major upgrade of the rail station together with improved linkage to the city centre is so important to the regeneration of Inverness.”
Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “There is a high number of tourists using Inverness and it’s important that the investment is targeted at the things that matter to them, as well as the regular users. Passengers’ priorities include improving the look of the station and the choice of shops. Passengers must be at the heart of the station redevelopment. We’re really pleased to be helping HITRANS.”
Rail operators, Abellio, said earlier this year when they took over the ScotRail franchise, that they intended to spend £2.5 million on upgrading the station. At the same time, HITRANS are speaking with all the key stakeholders to ensure that the improvements complement the wider regeneration plans for the city centre.
A full summary report of the study can be downloaded here.