Today, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) - the UK's biggest rail franchise - has welcomed Mims Davies, Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex, to the newly opened EV charging hub at Haywards Heath station to encourage people back to rail with a greener way to travel to the station.
The installation, which features 12 charging points, forms part of a wide-ranging station improvements programme being undertaken by GTR, which encompasses more than 230 stations and over 1,000 individual projects. The programme aims to enhance the overall journey experience by making stations smarter, safer, more comfortable and more environmentally sustainable. Much of the work has been suggested by local passenger and community groups.
In partnership with Pod Point, a leading provider of EV charging infrastructure, the new charging points at Hayward Heath have been opened to meet the increasing consumer demand for electric vehicles, whilst also demonstrating the company's commitment to sustainability. The EV installation at Haywards Heath will see a 54 per cent increase in public EV charging devices in the Mid Sussex district.
Haywards Heath station was chosen as a result of a heat-mapping exercise conducted by the rail operator, which revealed EV ownership and sales 'hot spots' around the UK. With an increasing number of people switching to electric vehicles, Govia Thameslink Railway is responding to local demand by providing greater access to charging infrastructure. The new charging points are in addition to the existing 114 in place across the GTR network, which have all undergone improvements as part of the project.
Chris Fowler, Customer Services Director for Southern, explained: "We're delighted to provide new EV charging points to residents of Haywards Heath and the surrounding area. This is in addition to a new EV hub opened at Hatfield station and part of a much wider programme of works to improve station facilities at every station across the GTR network and give a better experience to our passengers.
"We have over 1,000 improvement projects happening across our network and many will help improve the sustainability of our stations, especially as our local communities seek out options for the greenest forms of travel."
Mims Davies, Conservative MP for Mid Sussex, said of the project: "I am delighted Haywards Heath was chosen as a location for this project. We need to become more environmentally aware to rise and meet the challenges to preserve our local environment. It is great the people of Mid Sussex are embracing the new greener technology for transport and I'm pleased Govia Thameslink took the time to analyse purchasing trends and have responded to this to support both the environment and those that have bought electric or hybrid cars. It is a very welcome addition to one of our key local stations."
Erik Fairbairn, Founder and CEO, Pod Point, adds: "We are delighted to be working with Govia Thameslink Railway on the installation of EV charging points across its network. Our continued partnership with GTR is making it easier for drivers to choose electric and will help accelerate adoption. We see the GTR EV charging hubs at Haywards Heath and Hatfield as a blueprint for EV charging across the rail industry. It offers connected electrified transport for all UK commuters and for the millions of drivers without off-street parking it provides a viable and convenient alternative to domestic or workplace charging."
A dedicated Station Improvements web page is now available for GTR passengers and local communities to easily access information on what's happening at their station to improve ambiance, experience and sustainability.