Our Top 10 Station Hates

Working on a number of station design projects prompted some lunch-time discussion at CCD on what we hate about stations – remembering we are all commuters as well as designers!  So here is our Top 10 hates about stations.

1. The way the design of stations means that groups of people congregate, with all their luggage, in the same place as the main flow of people moving through the station. A difficult issue to sort!

2. The location of equipment, in particular ticket machines and information boards, that encourage people to stop and gather again blocking some of the flows of people. This is avoidable.

3. The dreadful usability of some ticket machines – they are slow and the touchscreens unresponsive; they use non-QWERTY keyboards making entry of destination information etc harder

4. Why do ticket machines give so little information on things like fare types? Saying “this ticket has restrictions” is no help to anyone.  A simpler fare structure would help too.

5. Queues for ticket machines and windows – more ticket machines are helping but doesn’t stop us hating the queues

6. We understand that ticket gates are necessary for revenue protection but their reliability, especially at peak times, is a hate – the frequency with which tickets are not accepted raises the annoyance factor for all and is really embarassing for those stuck with the dud ticket.  A stress we could do without

7. Why is signage so often unhelpful for those not in the know?  For example, signs directing you to either an eastbound or westbound service assumes some knowledge of the local geography

8. Where the revenue from advertising and retail comes before wayfinding – sticking adverts in front of information signs is a biggie; or sticking useless signs telling you to “take care” just where you can trip over them.

9. Toilets that are poor quality AND you have to pay extra to use – the new minimum standards should help this

10. Why is the level of information provided when things are going wrong so poor? Operators try hard but it never seems good enough – and a pre-recorded apology doesn’t do much to help. Better ways to disseminate information AND more meaningful information please (no more “operational difficulties”)

Now, we’d like to think that we’re a bunch of people who want to look positively and get involved in the solution not just rant about problems for others to sort – the discussion suggested we’ve got some work to do!

What do you think about UK stations and what needs fixing?  Or better still, what do you love that we need to do more of?




  1. David Watts Says: June 24, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Two more include confusion when platforms are divided into 'A' and 'B' and convoluted up and over routes to get to platforms (especially when your train is about to go!)

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