You can get businesses involved in a whole range of ways. From sponsoring flower tubs to holding weekly stalls to setting up permanent shops, find the level of involvement that suits both the station and the company.
The business will benefit from greater exposure and a regular flow of potential customers. The station will become a livelier, more interesting place – helping to boost customer satisfaction and strengthen the station’s position as a hub within the community.
A long-term business presence at the station can also result in the company’s staff becoming unofficial ambassadors for the railway – answering passengers’ queries and making the travel experience friendly and enjoyable.
Rediscover the Region project
The East Japan Railway Company has opened stores at urban stations such as Ueno in Tokyo selling local produce and delicacies from rural areas.
The stores add interest to the urban stations, as well as raising the profile of outlying areas and promoting travel to these regions.
Following the success of the Ueno store, a second shop was opened in 2014 at Akihabara station, also in Tokyo. Read more.
Kiera’s coffee trike
In 2014, Severnside Community Rail Partnership welcomed Kiera Cheung and her Coffee Trike – a custom built, self-contained coffee stall – to Redland station in Bristol. Kiera serves high quality coffee and organic snacks, attracting customers to the station who were not previously rail users.
Severnside supports Kiera with her vision for community horticultural activity at the station, and in 2015 plans to install new planters to be used by the local community for growing edibles. Visit the Severnside CRP website to get in touch and find out more.
Preston station market
Preston station, managed by Virgin Trains, has introduced a ‘station market’ for local businesses offering bread, pies and pasties, olives, soap and crafts. The stall holders are not charged – Virgin recognises that they bring a positive sense of community to this large, busy station. And there is the space to do it without anyone getting in the way.
There is scope to do similar things at many more larger stations, says UK community rail expert Paul Salveson in this blog post.
Hear from people who’ve done it
In this video, he discusses the ways you can get businesses involved, and the benefits of doing so.
How to make it happen
Do you have an under-used area of your station? It could become a prime spot for a local business. Visit our New uses for station buildings page for inspirational examples and our top 10 tips, including on how to select the right businesses to work with.
A simple way to get businesses involved is as sponsors. For example, encourage local firms to sponsor flower tubs. It provides good local awareness (and evidence of Corporate Social Responsibility) for the business, and helps you to fund your projects.
Thinking on a larger scale? Ideally you may need a specific person who is committed to making it happen. This could be a dedicated funded role, or could become part of an existing position, such as that of a local government Travel Officer.
Links to useful materials around the web:
- New thinking on community-based station development (web article)
A great article, packed with examples of how stations can be transformed by involving communities and businesses, written by UK Community Rail expert Paul Salveson.
If you have your own case studies, resources or ideas to contribute to this (or any other) section of the toolkit, please add a comment to the foot of this article.
Alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 1752 584777 to speak to our lead partner, the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership.
More from the toolkit
Improve existing stations
– Early consultation
– Designing with students
– Art and gardening projects
– Community-focused buildings
New uses for station buildings
Creating new stations
More trains, better stations
Attracting more users
Involving citizens and stakeholders
People with disabilities