Make travel easier

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IT seems that the question of installing barriers on the Sheffield Station overbridge is being raised again.

At every tram stop there are notices advising passengers that the Sheffield station tram stop is the one to alight for access to the railway station, taxis, Hallam University, and the interchange. It is clear that the bridge is primarily a connection for passengers wishing to change from one mode of transport to another.

Undoubtedly this was not taken into account when drafting the Rail Franchise Agreement which requires the installation of ITSO smart card ticketing linked to the gating of accesses at the station.

ITSO is a Government backed non profit organisation which sets common standards that mean transport operators can link up so passengers only have to use one secure payment smart card no matter what bus or train route they use.

If Sheffield station was gated and complied with ITSO standards such standards are not likely to comply with the new European Commission regulation to facilitate pan-European rail planning and ticketing.

The EC adopted the regulation to facilitate pan-Euro rail travel and ticketing, by forcing a standardisation of rail passenger data on fares and timetables. The Commission is to introduce a legal measure requiring operators to bring IT systems into line, so the standardised data can be transferred between operators.

European Commission vice-president Siim Kallas said: “If we are serious about getting people on to rail, and particularly about having rail compete with air travel...then we need to offer passengers the seamless planning and ticketing offers that match the airlines. We want to make it as easy to book a rail ticket from Barcelona to Brussels or Berlin as it is to book a flight. Making common timetabling and fare information available to operators is a significant first step.”

William Ronksley