Another c2c station becomes fully accessible as MP opens new facilities at Benfleet.
Dr Bob Spink, MP joined the Mayor of Castle Point Cllr Mrs Beverley Egan, c2c Managing Director Mark Hopwood, Councillors and invitees when he paid his second official visit to Benfleet in four months to inaugurate the new disabled access at the station.
The £115,000 project, jointly funded by c2c, Essex County Council and the DfT (under their Access for All Programme ) provides level access to both platforms at Benfleet station. This allows customers who cannot manage stairs to reach the platforms and travel to a number of destinations served by c2c, including Southend, Basildon, Chafford Hundred, London Fenchurch Street and, from December, Upminster (where new passenger-operated lifts are currently being installed).
Ramps compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) allow eligible customers to access a security gate leading to the respective platforms. At the gate a call button alerts the ticket office staff who can establish, via CCTV, that a customer is entitled to enter the station via these gates, and can open them from their office. When leaving the platform the same procedure applies.
Welcoming the Mayor and Dr Bob Spink back to Benfleet station, c2c Managing Director Mark Hopwood said, I am delighted that we can now provide easy access to both platforms here at Benfleet station for our customers who cannot manage the stairs. Benfleet station serves a wide area including Canvey Island and I hope the new facilities will make train travel more attractive for people with mobility impairment or with buggies and push chairs. They can now reach key destinations such as Southend, London and the Lakeside Shopping Centre via Chafford Hundred.
This is a continuation of the work we completed in May in the ticket hall where we installed a specially adapted ticket window that could be used by people in wheelchairs.
We offer our customers the most punctual and reliable service in the country - 94.3% of our trains reached or exceeded their punctuality target for the 12 months ending 18 August. At c2c we want as many people as possible to enjoy the benefits of one of the best train services in the country and the new facilities here at Benfleet will open up our services to a lot more people.
I am grateful to Essex County Council and the DfT for joining the partnership which has made today's event possible.
Dr Spink was delighted with the new arrangements at Benfleet, saying, The work that has been taking place here at Benfleet has been very impressive, making the station much more welcoming to the 5000 or so people who use it every day. Making the station accessible to people in wheelchairs and those with heavy luggage, buggies and push chairs, however, is a really big step forward, both in customer service and in demonstrating that c2c takes very seriously its commitment to ALL customers . When I was here in May I was pleased to make the announcement that work on the facilities would start shortly. I am delighted to be back to see the work completed and to open the facilities officially.
With customer friendly step free access to the platform, a special ticket window for disabled people and a disabled toilet, Benfleet really is an accessible station and one that everyone can be proud of.