Report on FOHS Meeting of 24 January 2014

Website Update and Presentation:

James and Philip who operate under the business name of Smoothlines were introduced and welcomed to the Friends Group. They had very kindly and charitably offered to assist the Friends in establishing our website at no charge for their expertise other than an acknowledgement on the website itself, and some local publicity for their contribution and efforts on our behalf when the website eventually goes live. It was acknowledged that they can only devote to the development of our website the time that their business work commitments permit them and, as they are trying to establish themselves in a competitive field, we have to accept that progress might not, at times, be quite as speedy as we would like.

A Question and Answer session followed with James and Philip.

It was revealed that, following the first three meetings with them a decision was taken to secure the domain name FOHS which happened to be available at minimal cost.

Using a screen for illustration they displayed the home page as they explained the navigation of the site

In relation to hosting charges Philip explained that the complexity of a site was a major factor in charges but that charges could be established on a flat fee basis.

Station Improvements:

The news of the repair to the sliding doors, returning them to a fully functioning state, received a warm, collective, very welcome acknowledgement by all. It was recognised that it had taken almost three years for a resolution, the doors not having functioned since shortly after the Tall Ships in 2010 although it was accepted that contractual issues had had a bearing on the issue.

The ongoing problem of the litter bins was again referred to with no solution as yet in sight.

A log ought to be kept of the dates and times when complaints have been registered with Northern Rail to support any campaign for repair or improvement.

Station Cleaning and Cleaning Rota:

A new cleaning rota would be produced, operational from May 1st which would be a dated document in order to easily identify it as the latest version.

The new dustpan was a big improvement but the cupboard in the station was cluttered with a lot of unnecessary items of no real use and required a clearing out of said items.

Grand Central Ambassadors:

No major changes were reported. The January to March timetable was in operation at present with fares changing by around £3.

All seats had been booked for the March 2nd football date and a notice on the website indicated no further bookings would be taken.

There had been recent difficulties with Control North not replying following a last-minute GC cancellation and 40 passengers to cater for. Buses had been organised but Ambassadors had been obliged to phone Control back as no information had been forthcoming.

All must be aware that where GC have arranged for tickets to be accepted for use on East Coast, often GC will have made the arrangement for a particular train and it is that train which passengers must take for their tickets to be valid, ideally it should be a train from Newcastle and not one from Scotland which would be full.

A vagrant had been encountered on the station asleep with two cases. Later he had disappeared but one case had been left behind unattended. The question was posed, had it not been open and apparently innocuous, what course of action ought to have been taken. The Northern Rail Duty Control Manager, whose number is listed on our circulation sheet, should be contacted.

It was O.K. to give out to passengers the Lost Property numbers but all other numbers were confidential.

Transport Champions Group:

It was reported that the updating of bus timetables in the town was now removed from Tees Valley and had become the responsibility of the Council. Bus operators could only introduce changes twice a year and only in a primary and secondary window, giving 56 days notice in advance. They would be provided with the new timetable but would have to print it themselves and coordinate its display in the week’s window allocated. TVU used to collate the timetables, produce all the printouts for the bus stops and put them in the bus stops themselves but only do the first two now.

A new system of Real Time on buses was being introduced by Tees Valley and although Stagecoach had never previously signed up they had now accepted this introduction, but there were no guarantees it would come to fruition.

Stagecoach had reacted to Ian Wright’s inaccurate statement about Stagecoach’s accessible buses by cancelling their intended reinstatement of the No.6 bus after 6p.m

Various road improvements were in the pipeline at certain points including Hart Lane, Powlett Rd.

The balls roundabout was earmarked for a road widening Scheme. Double yellow lines would be introduced in Hart Lane between Duke St. lights and Sacred Heart School.

The subject of the next meeting was to be Cycling Initiatives

Paul Robson was no longer connected with TCG having become a consultant with the NHS.Â

Coastliners:

Coastliners had not met recently as an Open Meeting or an AGM.

Peter Walker, as Chairman, was the person responsible for engaging speakers and he had been particularly unfortunate recently in that potential speakers had been obliged to withdraw and that nothing was, as yet, confirmed for future meetings.

Any Other Business:

Previous minutes had outlined the efforts by the Friends to allay funding cuts which did, in fact, go through perhaps because it transpired that HVDA had a pot of money in reserve.

The present funding goes through to April and after that there was only enough money in the pot to pay the staff for another month.

Attention was drawn to the fact that our Northern passes were due to expire on April 1st and bearing in mind the problems of delay we had experienced previously we ought to be investigating renewal now.

Details of Next meeting:

The next meeting was scheduled to take place at 9-13 Scarborough Street, Hartlepool, on Friday 21 March 2014 at 10.00 a.m.

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