Network Rail launches the first railway station parcel collection point that's open to all retailer
is trialling ecommerce parcel shops at mainline stations, and says this will be the first time such a service is available to all retailers and carriers for deliveries, collections and returns.
The first of the new Doddle collection points opens today at Milton Keynes Central, and will be followed by trials at London Paddington and Woking stations. More sites will follow in unused space at UK railway stations throughout 2014 and Network Rail forecasts that as many as 4,000 new jobs could be created.
Doddle is being launched as a joint venture with Travelex Group founder Lloyd Dorfman. Its dedicated parcel shops will be open early till late, seven days a week. Shoppers will be notified of deliveries to the collection points through a mobile app, SMS or email, while there will also be a transactional website.
Project director Peter Louden 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% by 2020.
“There are around 1.5bn passenger journeys taking place every year plus a large proportion of the UK population lives within five miles of a railway station, making it a highly convenient solution for many consumers.”
The initiative comes as the Network Rail group of companies aims to make better commercial use of its assets at railway stations that can see more traffic than the UK’s airports. Currently, it says, more people use London Waterloo and London Victoria every day than use Heathrow airport, while more come through London Paddington than Gatwick Airport. Today, some 50% more people use the rail network than did 10 years ago, and it’s predicted by another 400m rail journeys will be made every year by 2020. Passenger growth in London alone is expected to grow by 36% by 2031.
Last month, Asda unveiled its click and collect trial in six London Underground car parks.Our view:
This is a highly useful step in making online parcel deliveries and collections more convenient for shoppers. This is the kind of service that has been widely talked about but has as yet there have ony only had limited lockerbank rollout and that mainly in the capital. We look forward to seeing a more universal service, through Network Rail's many sites across the UK.