MP attacks Taunton Station
Ian Liddell Grainger today released a second statement attacking the facilities at Taunton Station. Taking his angst to the floor of the House of Commons, the MP for Bridgwater & West Somerset requested an urgent debate on the subject. He accused GWR staff of being “utterly lazy and incompetent”. He also claimed that the layout of the station was unhelpful for the elderly or disabled passengers. He claimed “If you’re young, or old or disabled and you need help you cannot get from one side of the station to the other. You have to walk out along a main road and up a ramp taking all your suitcases – it makes Heathrow and Gatwick seem positively balmy. This is beyond belief. GWR say they are inclusive, they say they stand up for their customers….well not at Taunton!”
We have covered the problems of access at Highbridge Station in this month’s edition of The Leveller. But at Taunton, the issue isn’t obvious. Our editor regularly uses the station and notes that the disabled parking is at the front of the station. This is right by the new entrance and next to the multi storey car park. From that new entrance there is level access to the station, with lifts available to access all platforms.
If there is a problem it is at Paddington, where GWR often put up platform numbers for departing trains as little as 6 minutes before departure. Which can leave slower passengers struggling to cross the concourse in time to make the train.
But Taunton has, as far as we can see, excellent access and we have always found the staff courteous and helpful. But we can only speak as we find. Clearly Mr Liddell Grainger had a very different experience. We put his remarks to GWR. Their spokesperson told us “We are very disappointed to read Mr Liddell-Granger’s comments about his experience at Taunton station and have contacted his office to arrange a meeting at his earliest convenience. We have invested heavily in Taunton, working in partnership with Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Somerset County Council and Somerset West and Taunton Council to deliver a multi-million pound station regeneration project.“
“The majority of customers have responded positively to the improvements, which include a new 400-space multi-storey car park, ticket office station entrance and forecourt, with additional bike spaces. Passengers also regularly comment on the friendliness of staff at the station. We look forward to meeting with Mr Liddell-Granger and trying to help resolve his complaints.”