Anger at London Midland's £1.3m revamp on Watford Junction station

Watford Observer: Watford Junction revamp 'incredibly dangerous' Watford Junction revamp 'incredibly dangerous'

Taxi drivers have warned rush hour chaos caused by ranking changes at Watford Junction station could lead to someone being seriously injured or killed.

The warning has been made as London Midland trains carries out a £1.3m refurbishment of the station, which will see the forecourt turned into a pedestrianised area.

The redevelopment means the station’s busy taxi rank has been moved from the forecourt and placed either side of the access road into the station’s car park.

Shafiq Ahmed, the chairman of the Watford Hackney Carriage Drivers Association, said the result was a dangerous scrum of taxis, cars and pedestrians when the station was in peak use. He said taxis were also caught in tail-to-bumper congestion at peak times leading to frustration from drivers and passengers alike.

He said: "The whole thing looks like it has been designed by a child - there is no long-term view. Many passengers have told us they were happy with the previous forecourt area.

"We are concerned about the health and safety. Someone is going to die here or be severely injured as when it is peak time people do not know what’s going on."

Originally taxis had ranked separately from the access road on the forecourt of the station, which is currently being turned into a seating and bike storage area for train passengers.

The new arrangement involves taxis ranking down the entrance lane of the access road and then driving into the car park to turn around and rank on the exit lane to collect customers.

The criticism of the new system has arisen months after politicians and taxi drivers warned London Midland that the plan would create a dangerous situation at the station.

Steve Rackett, a Green councillor for the Callowlands area, raised serious concerns about London Midland’s plans to move the taxi rank into the access road.

However he said the company had ignored his and taxi drivers' concerns and branded its behaviour as "completely arrogant", adding that London Midland should lose its right to run the train line.

Councillor Rackett said: "We told them it would be dangerous and they didn’t care. London Midland has behaved in a completely arrogant way and didn’t seem to be concerned about customer safety.

"It has become incredibly dangerous.

"These are transitional arrangements but there appears to be no safety consideration, which you would expect a public undertaking to include.

"Should people and the Department of Transport ask whether they are the right company to operate this franchise?

"I have to say I don’t think they are the right type of company to run a public service."

The Watford Observer contacted London Midland for a statement but no one from the company was available to comment.

Comments (22)

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5:54pm Thu 20 Dec 12

abbotshornet says...

Not sure how it's going to turn out but I do know the work has been going on for ages with no apparent end.
At the moment there are cars, buses, cycles and pedestrians all wandering around ouside the station.
Not sure how it's going to turn out but I do know the work has been going on for ages with no apparent end. At the moment there are cars, buses, cycles and pedestrians all wandering around ouside the station. abbotshornet
  • Score: 0

5:57pm Thu 20 Dec 12

TRT says...

Someone was raped as a result of this.

The move of the short term car park to the other end of the bus station makes it unsafe for late night passengers walking to meet a waiting car, and also means people with big bags have to drag them through the narrow bus stop areas. This redesign was idiotic, they were warned but they chose to ignore the warnings and waste money on tarting up something that wasn't a problem. Fools. Fools.
Someone was raped as a result of this. The move of the short term car park to the other end of the bus station makes it unsafe for late night passengers walking to meet a waiting car, and also means people with big bags have to drag them through the narrow bus stop areas. This redesign was idiotic, they were warned but they chose to ignore the warnings and waste money on tarting up something that wasn't a problem. Fools. Fools. TRT
  • Score: 0

6:18pm Thu 20 Dec 12

mtimmins92 says...

Well, I've regularly caught a bus back into town from the junction, yes the work has been going on for ages, but the end result is what we will be seeing, what are they actually doing you say - well just a redesign moving a few things round here and there, which is really a shambles as there was or is nothing wrong with the way it was.
Well, I've regularly caught a bus back into town from the junction, yes the work has been going on for ages, but the end result is what we will be seeing, what are they actually doing you say - well just a redesign moving a few things round here and there, which is really a shambles as there was or is nothing wrong with the way it was. mtimmins92
  • Score: 0

6:46pm Thu 20 Dec 12

pancake39 says...

It's a mess. If I have to pick people up I ask them to walk to St. Albans road as I don't want to go near the place. There is a massive pothole at the jnc as you come out from the drop off area which is really dangerous. I've reported it to the herts pothole website but its still there ready to damage cars.
It's a mess. If I have to pick people up I ask them to walk to St. Albans road as I don't want to go near the place. There is a massive pothole at the jnc as you come out from the drop off area which is really dangerous. I've reported it to the herts pothole website but its still there ready to damage cars. pancake39
  • Score: 0

8:17pm Thu 20 Dec 12

The Rover says...

Why is a pedestrial area at the front of Watford Junction even needed? You get to the station and go straight inside to catch a train, then you come home on a train, walk out the station and go home. You do not around at a pedestrianised area outside the station, particularly given that the drop-off/pick-up point is going to be nowhere near the front of the station. The front of the station was absolutely fine as it was. Having taxis on the access road to the car park is dangerous, and moving the short-term car park and pick up area to the end of the bus station is madness. London Midland should have spent the £1.3 million on making sure they have enough drivers to drive their trains, and that their trains run on time.
Why is a pedestrial area at the front of Watford Junction even needed? You get to the station and go straight inside to catch a train, then you come home on a train, walk out the station and go home. You do not around at a pedestrianised area outside the station, particularly given that the drop-off/pick-up point is going to be nowhere near the front of the station. The front of the station was absolutely fine as it was. Having taxis on the access road to the car park is dangerous, and moving the short-term car park and pick up area to the end of the bus station is madness. London Midland should have spent the £1.3 million on making sure they have enough drivers to drive their trains, and that their trains run on time. The Rover
  • Score: 0

10:07pm Thu 20 Dec 12

gusgreen says...

first rule of engineering
"if it aint broke dont fix if"
London Midland are you listening????
first rule of engineering "if it aint broke dont fix if" London Midland are you listening???? gusgreen
  • Score: 0

11:01pm Thu 20 Dec 12

Andrew1963 says...

Travelling by Taxi in watford is more expensive than central London. At such high prices you should expect a safe and comfortable rank.There must be loads of money in the trade as taxis queue up for a quarter of a mile on Clarendon road every evening to rake in the cash.
Travelling by Taxi in watford is more expensive than central London. At such high prices you should expect a safe and comfortable rank.There must be loads of money in the trade as taxis queue up for a quarter of a mile on Clarendon road every evening to rake in the cash. Andrew1963
  • Score: 0

12:51am Fri 21 Dec 12

drunkenduck says...

gusgreen wrote:
first rule of engineering
"if it aint broke dont fix if"
London Midland are you listening????
D'er...

Peak times are extremely dangerous walking around that area. Even before the works has started. You got buses, taxis and people picking people up, or dropping off all at once. Plus the rush hours traffic to deal with.

In the that book aka Highway Code it states No Stopping! But instead, you get stupid drivers including "taxi drivers" dropping & picking people up right on that corner to the entrance of the station. Causing more of a danger! So what are these drivers moaning about?

All what London Midland has done, has diverted those arrogant taxi drivers away from the buses. Secondly, these way too many taxi's around, why do we need so many there all at once.
[quote][p][bold]gusgreen[/bold] wrote: first rule of engineering "if it aint broke dont fix if" London Midland are you listening????[/p][/quote]D'er... Peak times are extremely dangerous walking around that area. Even before the works has started. You got buses, taxis and people picking people up, or dropping off all at once. Plus the rush hours traffic to deal with. In the that book aka Highway Code it states No Stopping! But instead, you get stupid drivers including "taxi drivers" dropping & picking people up right on that corner to the entrance of the station. Causing more of a danger! So what are these drivers moaning about? All what London Midland has done, has diverted those arrogant taxi drivers away from the buses. Secondly, these way too many taxi's around, why do we need so many there all at once. drunkenduck
  • Score: 0

4:00am Fri 21 Dec 12

Honest Rog says...

Andrew; ask a Watford taxi driver the price to, say, Heathrow Terminal 1 from Watford. I'd guess between 30-40 quid. Then get a London cab from said terminal to Watford and let me know how many pennies change you get out of $100. They are the robbers, the ones what've dun the knowledge.
Drunkenduck; in your predictable rant against Watford cabbies you unwittingly hit the nail on the head. There are too many taxis in Watford. This is due to Lib Dem dogma in slavishly following the deregulation bandwagon. The delimitation of hackney licences had the (predicted) effect of too many cabs chasing too few fares. This has resulted in reduced earnings for cabbies with no increased benefit to passengers. Indeed, complaints of overcharging have rocketed since this ill thought out policy. BTW, it (deregulation) was foisted upon Watford council by that woman from Cambridge who the Watford electorate rejected in May 2010.
Andrew; ask a Watford taxi driver the price to, say, Heathrow Terminal 1 from Watford. I'd guess between 30-40 quid. Then get a London cab from said terminal to Watford and let me know how many pennies change you get out of $100. They are the robbers, the ones what've dun the knowledge. Drunkenduck; in your predictable rant against Watford cabbies you unwittingly hit the nail on the head. There are too many taxis in Watford. This is due to Lib Dem dogma in slavishly following the deregulation bandwagon. The delimitation of hackney licences had the (predicted) effect of too many cabs chasing too few fares. This has resulted in reduced earnings for cabbies with no increased benefit to passengers. Indeed, complaints of overcharging have rocketed since this ill thought out policy. BTW, it (deregulation) was foisted upon Watford council by that woman from Cambridge who the Watford electorate rejected in May 2010. Honest Rog
  • Score: 0

9:10am Fri 21 Dec 12

HornetJJ says...

Honest Rog wrote:
Andrew; ask a Watford taxi driver the price to, say, Heathrow Terminal 1 from Watford. I'd guess between 30-40 quid. Then get a London cab from said terminal to Watford and let me know how many pennies change you get out of $100. They are the robbers, the ones what've dun the knowledge. Drunkenduck; in your predictable rant against Watford cabbies you unwittingly hit the nail on the head. There are too many taxis in Watford. This is due to Lib Dem dogma in slavishly following the deregulation bandwagon. The delimitation of hackney licences had the (predicted) effect of too many cabs chasing too few fares. This has resulted in reduced earnings for cabbies with no increased benefit to passengers. Indeed, complaints of overcharging have rocketed since this ill thought out policy. BTW, it (deregulation) was foisted upon Watford council by that woman from Cambridge who the Watford electorate rejected in May 2010.
Like you said it costs about £30 from Watford to Heathrow (20 miles) in a proper pre-booked taxi, so why does it costs £12-£15 from Watford Junction to Leavesden (3 miles)? The cabs operating outside of the station are absolute rip off merchants!
[quote][p][bold]Honest Rog[/bold] wrote: Andrew; ask a Watford taxi driver the price to, say, Heathrow Terminal 1 from Watford. I'd guess between 30-40 quid. Then get a London cab from said terminal to Watford and let me know how many pennies change you get out of $100. They are the robbers, the ones what've dun the knowledge. Drunkenduck; in your predictable rant against Watford cabbies you unwittingly hit the nail on the head. There are too many taxis in Watford. This is due to Lib Dem dogma in slavishly following the deregulation bandwagon. The delimitation of hackney licences had the (predicted) effect of too many cabs chasing too few fares. This has resulted in reduced earnings for cabbies with no increased benefit to passengers. Indeed, complaints of overcharging have rocketed since this ill thought out policy. BTW, it (deregulation) was foisted upon Watford council by that woman from Cambridge who the Watford electorate rejected in May 2010.[/p][/quote]Like you said it costs about £30 from Watford to Heathrow (20 miles) in a proper pre-booked taxi, so why does it costs £12-£15 from Watford Junction to Leavesden (3 miles)? The cabs operating outside of the station are absolute rip off merchants! HornetJJ
  • Score: 0

9:43am Fri 21 Dec 12

TRT says...

With the old design the taxi/pedestrian conflict area was limited, now the shuffling up of taxis will happen along a road where people can cross all along it, multiplying the danger a hundredfold.
With the old design the taxi/pedestrian conflict area was limited, now the shuffling up of taxis will happen along a road where people can cross all along it, multiplying the danger a hundredfold. TRT
  • Score: 0

9:57am Fri 21 Dec 12

Romo says...

I commute into London everyday and cycle to the station each morning.

At the moment, its a complete shambles with all the work going on.

Bikes are parked against street railings and lamp posts, and the taxi rank is in a poor location that causes a build up of traffic when taxis cant get into the rank.

Why do we need a pedestrian area in front of the station? Nobody hangs around, you go straight in, and when you come out, you don't hang around.

Was there actually a consultation carried out by LM? Because I didn't see one!
I commute into London everyday and cycle to the station each morning. At the moment, its a complete shambles with all the work going on. Bikes are parked against street railings and lamp posts, and the taxi rank is in a poor location that causes a build up of traffic when taxis cant get into the rank. Why do we need a pedestrian area in front of the station? Nobody hangs around, you go straight in, and when you come out, you don't hang around. Was there actually a consultation carried out by LM? Because I didn't see one! Romo
  • Score: 0

10:46am Fri 21 Dec 12

Andrew1963 says...

Honest Rog wrote:
Andrew; ask a Watford taxi driver the price to, say, Heathrow Terminal 1 from Watford. I'd guess between 30-40 quid. Then get a London cab from said terminal to Watford and let me know how many pennies change you get out of $100. They are the robbers, the ones what've dun the knowledge.
Drunkenduck; in your predictable rant against Watford cabbies you unwittingly hit the nail on the head. There are too many taxis in Watford. This is due to Lib Dem dogma in slavishly following the deregulation bandwagon. The delimitation of hackney licences had the (predicted) effect of too many cabs chasing too few fares. This has resulted in reduced earnings for cabbies with no increased benefit to passengers. Indeed, complaints of overcharging have rocketed since this ill thought out policy. BTW, it (deregulation) was foisted upon Watford council by that woman from Cambridge who the Watford electorate rejected in May 2010.
TfL website says Heathrow to central London is £45 in a Hackney (Taxi) Carriage. Not sure what the extra distance is to watford via M25, but sounds like fares are about the same. Private Hire cars are cheaper and of course quote up front. In my experience short distances in central London work out cheaper than short distance cab rides in Watford. I do know that the Taxi trade in Watfotrd is in a right mess . An official report in 2011 says that Watford has taxi Fares that are higher than average for southern England, and the two mile fare is well above the national average of £4.89. Watford has the 8th equal highest fare out of 377 council areas in England and Wales.
It also says there is an over supply of licences. That queuing taxis blight the town. Nothing seems to have changed in a year. Whoever sets the fares, issues the licences and creates the ranks should resign!
[quote][p][bold]Honest Rog[/bold] wrote: Andrew; ask a Watford taxi driver the price to, say, Heathrow Terminal 1 from Watford. I'd guess between 30-40 quid. Then get a London cab from said terminal to Watford and let me know how many pennies change you get out of $100. They are the robbers, the ones what've dun the knowledge. Drunkenduck; in your predictable rant against Watford cabbies you unwittingly hit the nail on the head. There are too many taxis in Watford. This is due to Lib Dem dogma in slavishly following the deregulation bandwagon. The delimitation of hackney licences had the (predicted) effect of too many cabs chasing too few fares. This has resulted in reduced earnings for cabbies with no increased benefit to passengers. Indeed, complaints of overcharging have rocketed since this ill thought out policy. BTW, it (deregulation) was foisted upon Watford council by that woman from Cambridge who the Watford electorate rejected in May 2010.[/p][/quote]TfL website says Heathrow to central London is £45 in a Hackney (Taxi) Carriage. Not sure what the extra distance is to watford via M25, but sounds like fares are about the same. Private Hire cars are cheaper and of course quote up front. In my experience short distances in central London work out cheaper than short distance cab rides in Watford. I do know that the Taxi trade in Watfotrd is in a right mess . An official report in 2011 says that Watford has taxi Fares that are higher than average for southern England, and the two mile fare is well above the national average of £4.89. Watford has the 8th equal highest fare out of 377 council areas in England and Wales. It also says there is an over supply of licences. That queuing taxis blight the town. Nothing seems to have changed in a year. Whoever sets the fares, issues the licences and creates the ranks should resign! Andrew1963
  • Score: 0

11:04am Fri 21 Dec 12

Bobbio says...

As I recall it the real, unpublicised, reason for all this work is to keep all vehicles away from the station entrance in case there is an attempt to drive a car bomb into the station. So a minute risk of a major terrorist incident is put ahead of the bigger daily risks to people using the station from this unsafe layout.
As I recall it the real, unpublicised, reason for all this work is to keep all vehicles away from the station entrance in case there is an attempt to drive a car bomb into the station. So a minute risk of a major terrorist incident is put ahead of the bigger daily risks to people using the station from this unsafe layout. Bobbio
  • Score: 0

11:18am Fri 21 Dec 12

inayellowshirt says...

The new position of the taxi rank has just moved the same problem to a new area.

Now the side road to the main car park has a heavier traffic load and needs a pedestrian crossing along the side of the station to make it a safer passage across to the alleyway up to St Albans Road.
The new position of the taxi rank has just moved the same problem to a new area. Now the side road to the main car park has a heavier traffic load and needs a pedestrian crossing along the side of the station to make it a safer passage across to the alleyway up to St Albans Road. inayellowshirt
  • Score: 0

11:29am Fri 21 Dec 12

theturpster says...

Charged nearly 12 quid from Fullerians rugby club to Vicarage Road a few months ago. Shocking.
Charged nearly 12 quid from Fullerians rugby club to Vicarage Road a few months ago. Shocking. theturpster
  • Score: 0

12:03pm Fri 21 Dec 12

G_Whiz says...

TRT wrote:
Someone was raped as a result of this.

The move of the short term car park to the other end of the bus station makes it unsafe for late night passengers walking to meet a waiting car, and also means people with big bags have to drag them through the narrow bus stop areas. This redesign was idiotic, they were warned but they chose to ignore the warnings and waste money on tarting up something that wasn't a problem. Fools. Fools.
No. Someone was raped because of a sick rapist.

Nightmare now for pedestrians crossing by the flag too!
[quote][p][bold]TRT[/bold] wrote: Someone was raped as a result of this. The move of the short term car park to the other end of the bus station makes it unsafe for late night passengers walking to meet a waiting car, and also means people with big bags have to drag them through the narrow bus stop areas. This redesign was idiotic, they were warned but they chose to ignore the warnings and waste money on tarting up something that wasn't a problem. Fools. Fools.[/p][/quote]No. Someone was raped because of a sick rapist. Nightmare now for pedestrians crossing by the flag too! G_Whiz
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Fri 21 Dec 12

TRT says...

Contributory factor. She couldn't find the taxi rank in the chaos and got lost. Reported in WO just two weeks ago.
Contributory factor. She couldn't find the taxi rank in the chaos and got lost. Reported in WO just two weeks ago. TRT
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Fri 21 Dec 12

abbotshornet says...

I'm not sure who is responsible for the "bus station" but this is also a dangerous shambles.
This has been halved in size while some lengthy work goes on (or not). Plus we have the extra use for the Harry Potter shuttle.
Does anyone know if this is part of the railway station fiasco or is it one all on it's own?
At least there is plenty going on for me to observe during my lengthy wait for a No8.
I'm not sure who is responsible for the "bus station" but this is also a dangerous shambles. This has been halved in size while some lengthy work goes on (or not). Plus we have the extra use for the Harry Potter shuttle. Does anyone know if this is part of the railway station fiasco or is it one all on it's own? At least there is plenty going on for me to observe during my lengthy wait for a No8. abbotshornet
  • Score: 0

2:40pm Fri 21 Dec 12

Razor Sharp says...

One can understand the rationale of having a pedestrianised forecourt outside Euston Station, where people can smoke, relax or visit coffee shops, cafe's and restaurants opposite. What is the justification of having it at Watford Junction?

The displaced taxi ranks now make it difficult to cross the road to access the alleyway leading to St. Albans Road and Church Road. The side road is now extremely congested with taxis.

There is an absence of 'joined-up thinking' or, for that matter, any rational thinking.
One can understand the rationale of having a pedestrianised forecourt outside Euston Station, where people can smoke, relax or visit coffee shops, cafe's and restaurants opposite. What is the justification of having it at Watford Junction? The displaced taxi ranks now make it difficult to cross the road to access the alleyway leading to St. Albans Road and Church Road. The side road is now extremely congested with taxis. There is an absence of 'joined-up thinking' or, for that matter, any rational thinking. Razor Sharp
  • Score: 0

6:15pm Fri 21 Dec 12

TRT says...

The large pedestrianised area outside Euston provides an ideal location for several thousand (would be)travellers to stand and admire the 60foot high, 200foot wide glass wall at the front of the station which they've just been evacuated from as a result of a suspected explosive device left somewhere on the other side of the 60foot high 200foot wide glass wall.
The large pedestrianised area outside Euston provides an ideal location for several thousand (would be)travellers to stand and admire the 60foot high, 200foot wide glass wall at the front of the station which they've just been evacuated from as a result of a suspected explosive device left somewhere on the other side of the 60foot high 200foot wide glass wall. TRT
  • Score: 0

11:43am Mon 24 Dec 12

kashmir says...

Did you know Taxi drivers in Watford have not had a fare increase in the last 2 and half years. We have all seen rises in fuel, insurances and just abt everything in last 3 years or so.
The issue here is about Watford junction and why they have moved taxis on the side road? This is not taxi drivers fault, it's the fault of LM and all the other **** involved in this decision. Why are some of us having a go at the taxi drivers?
Drivers were totally against issuing over 300 licences, they believed in quality not quantity. Some of the problems are created by the negligence of Wat Council that is taking its toll today.. Stop blaming the taxi drivers. They have nothing to do with the new planning work at Wat junction or tariff and how many taxi licenses should be issued.
I use taxis all the time and I must say they are giving a fantastic service at the station and in the town.
Did you know Taxi drivers in Watford have not had a fare increase in the last 2 and half years. We have all seen rises in fuel, insurances and just abt everything in last 3 years or so. The issue here is about Watford junction and why they have moved taxis on the side road? This is not taxi drivers fault, it's the fault of LM and all the other **** involved in this decision. Why are some of us having a go at the taxi drivers? Drivers were totally against issuing over 300 licences, they believed in quality not quantity. Some of the problems are created by the negligence of Wat Council that is taking its toll today.. Stop blaming the taxi drivers. They have nothing to do with the new planning work at Wat junction or tariff and how many taxi licenses should be issued. I use taxis all the time and I must say they are giving a fantastic service at the station and in the town. kashmir
  • Score: 0

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