This morning I got an email from my cousin who has been campaigning for station footbridges. I reported on this a few weeks ago, and today he was over in Derby on a fact-finding mission.
He reported to me that it appeared that the system was no longer being operated as agreed in 2009 – according to the agreement which I had been asked to approve while I was the Cabinet member with responsbility for transport on Derby City Council. At that time I would have much preferred the bridge to remain fully open, but I was persuaded that in the circumstances a pass system for regular users and a discretionary system for others was the best we could achieve.
The bridge to the platforms had been extended into Pride Park, with funds provided by the Council. The idea had been to facilitate links between the Normanton area, with high levels of unemployment and the (then) new business park. Now concern about fare-dodging was leading to a tightening of access…
This afternoon I found time to enquire at the station myself – and found the same situation.
When I asked about getting a pass to use the footbridge, I was directed to the ticket kiosk. There I was told that there would be a £10 charge for the pass. This is what my cousin was also told.
In the agreement it says “There must be no administration charge to issue a pass under the Pass Scheme but there may be a maximum £5.00 charge to replace the pass if it is lost.”
I have asked the council about this. They say that they have not made any changes to the agreement, and have contacted East Midlands Trains.
It seems particularly ironic that this has come to light now, just after the council has received funding to encourage more people to walk or cycle to Pride Park as part of the successful Local Sustainable Transport Fund Bid!
Watch this spot to see what happens next… particularly noting that there is a clause in the agreement that says that the council can have the gates removed after 42 days, if the agreed system is broken…