New research has revealed that passengers in Merseyside like to sit facing each other during journeys.
This research, Future Merseyrail rolling stock – what passengers want, was carried out to provide an insight into what customers would like to see in a modernised Merseyrail fleet. The current Merseyrail fleet is approaching 40 years old and is one of the oldest operating in the UK. All options, which include a new fleet or extensive re-work of the existing stock, are being considered.
In picking out seats, 50 per cent chose to sit in the existing pod-style seats, facing each other in twos. The reasons given were that it allowed them to sit as a group and talk to family and friends. Even those travelling on their own felt it gave them an opportunity to make conversation with strangers.
The railway has seen strong growth in passenger numbers over the last 10 years and this looks set to continue. As a result, the research recommended that a mix of seating, including the pod-style, airline and possibly longitudinal, like on London Underground trains, would best address capacity demands.
Other improvements passengers suggested were making trains more spacious and ‘open plan’ with areas for bikes, wheelchairs and pushchairs. Security issues were also of paramount importance to passengers, including increased visibility of CCTV cameras and the installation of help points. Calls were also made for Wi-Fi and bins on the trains.
Passengers’ feedback and ideas will feed into the specification and design for any new or modernised trains.
My thanks to passengerfocus for this report