Train operating company Northern Rail has spent a total of £12,000 here and at Snaith station (2,574 passengers p/a) fitting cycle racks and CCTV to what a local councillor has claimed are 'ghost stations'. Scarborough councillor Nick Harvey made a Freedom of Information Request to ascertain the total spend and believes that the money would be better spent on larger stations that attract more passengers so that a greater number of local residents could cycle there.
However, the initiative that Northern embarked upon, was to encourage patronage at these least-used stations, by improving infrastructure there: the addition of cycle racks being one example. A government grant was made available and as so often with grants of this type, these strings are attached. The train service Snaith and Rawcliffe receive is nowhere near as 'impressive' as that received by Bridlington, for example, so patronage is likely to be lower as a result. If Councillor Harvey thinks £12,000 is a lot of money, he would have a nasty surprise at the cost to add an additional train to the timetable, in the hope of growing patronage.
How do you grow patronage at these smaller stations? What comes first? In these stringent times it is more prudent to improve the infrastructure for locals in the hope that this might have a positive effect. In the LEYTR area, for the period of 2009-10, the number of stations that saw growth was in a minority (a situation reflected nationally), but Rawcliffe was one of these that bucked the trend, seeing an increase of 23% to be precise. It was ranked 8th in our list of stations recording the most growth.
We think it a little ironic that a councillor should make a song and dance about what he considers to be a waste of public funds. How much would East Riding of Yorkshire Council have paid for the same work to be done at Snaith and Rawcliffe? Rest assured there won't be much in it, if at all. The average council pays out around £3k to construct an accessible bus stop kerb. In Lincolnshire, it cost more to make the bus stops along the route length of Service 100 (Lincoln-Scunthorpe) accessible than it did for Stagecoach to splash out on five new buses to work the route.
In the scheme of things, £12k would get you four raised kerbs at four bus stops or a number of cycle racks and CCTV at a couple of railway stations. The fear of crime is always reported as being far greater than the number of crimes committed and CCTV - either love it or loathe it - can help address these fears. Investment has to come first and hopefully growth will follow. £12k is absolutely nothing to spend on minor improvements to a station.
As for the age old question, in a recent episode of comedy show QI, Stephen Fry said that the answer was quite simple: the chicken had to come first. Eggs don't lay themselves.....