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Published on : Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Network Rail is to test the concept of a parcel collection and delivery service at its mainline stations to capitalise on the booming online retail market. This is designed to generate additional revenue which can be reinvested in the railway and to provide a convenient and accessible service for those making 1.5 billion journeys by rail every year.
Following over 12 months of researching and monitoring the sector, Network Rail has decided to initially test the concept at Milton Keynes Central station with its 3,000 employees who are based near by and which is close to a number of key delivery operations. This will be followed closely by trials at London Paddington and Woking stations with other stations to follow throughout 2014 once the concept is proven, creating up to 4,000 new jobs.
The new business initiative is called Doddle and is a joint venture with leading entrepreneur and philanthropist Lloyd Dorfman CBE. He is best known for creating the Travelex Group which is now the world’s largest non-bank foreign exchange business.
Robin Gisby, managing director, network operations, said: “More people are travelling by rail than ever before and stations have become more than just a place to wait for, or get off a train. We’ve adapted to what passengers want and need by offering quality retail, food and drink at our biggest stations such as King’s Cross and Manchester Piccadilly and this is a natural next step to help passengers and station users whose lives are increasingly busy and on the move.
“With 2,500 stations nationwide and passengers making over 1.5 billion rail journeys every year we have the potential to create an unrivalled parcel delivery and collection service to meet the needs of rail users and those living near to stations.”
The Doddle dedicated parcel shops would be open seven days a week, early until late, to fit with people’s busy lifestyles and enable them to choose exactly how, when and where they send and receive parcels. There will be an easy-to-use website and advanced touch point notifications through a mobile app, SMS and email.
The service would be the only one of its kind that is available to every retailer, e-tailer, parcel carrier and shipper, creating a network of single points for the collection, return and sending of parcels. This open access approach will not only enable retailers and carriers to enhance and complement their existing delivery offering, but also allow the consumer to combine collections and returns from multiple retailers into one trip at a time that suits them or coincides with an already planned journey.
Peter Louden, project director, said: “Our initial conversations with both leading retailers and carriers have been extremely positive with many indicating a desire to become an early adopter. They are excited by the fantastic locations and the guaranteed footfall which is expected to increase by 30 per cent by 2020.”
Source:- Network Rail