First was a guided tour of the station, and we started in the new control rooom, which was only officially opened last week by Sir Peter Hendy CBE Commissioner TfL. The view from the window gives a really decent view of the entire concourse.
|The impressive view from the control room of VCS. Those canopies are original and have remained unchanged since VCS was opoened in 1932|
While we were walking through the Coach Station Mark was not only assisting passngers, but pointing out various things about the infrastructure, both good and bad. He admitted that the departure layout is not as he would like, and he wants to see passenger comfort, and the flow of passengers improved. He hates the seats, and the layout as a whole with people clogging up the gates before the coach has been announced. The airflow is also a big problem. The airflow units are being worked on at present, but on a hot day it can get intolerable. The picture I took yesterday below explains a lot.
|Very gloomy light does not help a good pix!|
Another factor in delaying passenger flow is that coaches, with the exception of airport coaches, can only be timed to leave on the hour and half hour. This is to do with traffic flow in the area, although I'm not sure how 30 plus coaches leaving at the same time exactly aids traffic flow. Gate clogging is caused by the lack of advance seat allocation by either Nat Ex orMegabus, so of course everyone wants to be first on to get the best seats. If coaches are delayed, and lets face it an RTA can happen anywhere, that only exacerbates the situation. The heat increases, tempers fray, incidentrs occur and the whole travelling experience is rather unpleasant, as I described in my initial post.
So what is Mark Geldard going to do about it? How can somewhere with no breathing space like VCS move into the 21st Century and provide a much more pleasant experience for coach passengers. In part two I'll describe the ideas Mark has for the future, plans being mulled over, and the numerous obstacles I can see being put in his way, and indeed under his ground too!