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Don't neglect our railway stations.

THE efforts of British Transport Police in dealing with the criminal behaviour currently plaguing our railway stations is commendable but it cannot be their task alone.

What an appalling list of nuisances, drug abusers and petty crooks there seem to be loafing around our railway platforms making life difficult both for staff and passengers.

Needless to say when these undesirables board a train, they take their undesirable behaviour with them. As anyone who regularly travels by train along the North Wales coast can testify, there are many occasions when groups of mainly young, loud-mouthed men behave in an aggressive and intimidating manner, swigging from beer cans and turning the air blue. It is the yobbishness which gave football a bad name 20 years ago and will do the same for public transport.

With regard to the problems at railway stations, this cannot be left to the transport police alone. And certainly it is not their responsibility to look after the infrastructure of stations and ensure they are comfortable, well-lit, properly staffed, civilised places where passengers who pay good money for their tickets can feel at ease.

On the subject of rail fares, prices have been hiked by an inflation busting 6% this year on the North Wales line. What are Arriva Trains Wales and Virgin doing with all the extra cash? Extra hanging baskets and more silver birch trees at Rhyl station perhaps? Credit where its due, the paint pots have been out at Llandudno Junction station recently, giving the place a fresher, brighter look.

Little things like this are important - it is a well-established fact that anti-social behaviour is more likely in public environments which are shabby and down at heel.

The role of the police in combating this is essentially reactive; it is the rail companies which ought to be pro-active. It is in their interests to make rail travel an enjoyable, relaxing, cost-effective alternative to the car. That means ensuring that trains and railway stations are fit for purpose.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 17, 2011
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