Passengers face new barriers

TRAIN travellers today will have to go through London underground style ticket barriers before entering Ipswich railway platforms.

TRAIN travellers today will have to go through London underground style ticket barriers before entering Ipswich railway platforms.

The sophisticated barriers have been put in place to prevent fare dodgers and to increase security at the station.

Commuters will have to insert their valid rail tickets into machines before the turn styles open, but a staffed wide gate will also be available for those with pushchairs, bicycles or disabilities.

People genuinely needing to walk onto the platforms to meet visitors or to gain access to the station shops will be allowed though without tickets at the staff's discretion.

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Media manager for National Express, Peter Meades, said: “We are introducing new automatic ticket barriers at Ipswich Station. We have already done this at some other major stations including Cambridge, Norwich and Harlow.

“If everybody pays for their journey, everyone benefits from the revenue we save. It is an industry-wide problem where millions of pounds a year are lost by people trying to avoid payment.”

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Mr Meades said the majority of Ipswich trains had conductors, but they could not physically check and collect fares from every traveller.

He added: “The barriers are also linked to security. Although Ipswich does not have a significant problem with undesirable people rushing through the station and jumping onto trains, we do have to reflect the world we live in today, and this will act as a deterrent to those and anyone else who intends using the station for criminal activity.”

Mr Meades said the cost of the new system ran into six figures, but “would pay for itself fairly quickly”.

He added that in the mornings when most people were heading out of Ipswich many of the barriers would be set to allow the outward flow to move freely, and in the evenings when more commuters were leaving the London trains more barriers would be set to allow the incoming flow to the station.

The new equipment is due to be operational from May 12, but Mr Meades stressed there would be a transitional period of a week.

Mr Meades said: “At the other stations where these barriers have been installed the feedback has been generally positive, but we will clearly review them over the next few weeks.”

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