Having a wider range of services on offer appeals to a wider section of the community and helps reduce the need to travel

Offering more than one service at a shop can increase the number of revenue streams and so reduce the cost of delivering each service, while improving viability. Having a wider range of services on offer appeals to a wider section of the community and so increases footfall. It also helps reduce the need to travel by bringing services and possibly jobs closer to people or at least helping ensure that services are not taken away.

Opening a shop or cafe that sells tickets could, for example, help where a ticket office at a rural station is threatened with reduced hours or closure. Not only does having these services available make rail travel more attractive, it makes the station itself a destination in its own right, drawing people to the station who wouldn’t normally think of taking the train. This approach is used at big stations such as the redeveloped station at St Pancras with the longest champagne bar in the world, Equally, opening a place to eat at your local station could revitalise it as well as making it easy to get home without worrying how much you’ve drunk.

Community hubs that primarily provide advice can work well as a focal point for a project to change travel choices. Nottingham, for example, has made community smarter travel hubs a key part of its 2012-15 programme to create the right social, cultural and physical environment to change travel choices across the city.

Devon County Council is developing a concept of work hubs and these could help provide professional yet flexible workspaces for smaller businesses. By offering networking opportunities, this could also help safeguard and improve local jobs, meaning people don’t need to travel so far to get to work.

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