A station is a place you go to, to catch a bus or a train. A hub is something much, much more.
There is no one typical bus or train passenger. One might be a commuter who is in a hurry to get to work or be in time for the kindergarten. Another is a student going home for the holidays. “Diversity between travellers is considerable, but one thing is important to them all – time. They all have appointments to keep, and no one wants to spend to long time on their journey,” says CEO Petter Eiken in ROM Eiendom, NSB Group’s real estate operation.
This is why time is especially important when one is developing stations – or hubs, as ROM Eiendom likes to call them.
“We know that commuters collecting children from kindergarten on their way home only have a few minutes leeway between office and platform. So it is important then to be able to manage a few errands”, says Eiken.
One example of a hub is at Lillehammer, eastern Norway. Here ROM Eiendom has built what is heralded as Norway’s most modern hub, with stops for train, bus and taxi.
“In addition travellers can get a bite to eat, they can stop by the tourist office and they can stay the night at the hostel. Everything is situated in the station building”, says Eiken.
We know that commuters collecting children from kindergarten on their way home only have a few minutes leeway between office and platform. So it is important then to be able to manage a few errands.Petter Eiken, CEO ROM Eiendom
Trondheim has a slightly different basis to Lillehammer. It is the «capital» of the Trøndelag region, with all that that entails for journeys to work, to the hospital or for other errands. Modes of travel are many. Ferry-boats are one alternative for quite a few of the passengers.
“That is the reason why we have linked the ferry dock with Trondheim S using a bridge over the railway tracks. Buses and taxis stop right outside the station. Here we have brought together all modes of transport within walking distance of each other. This makes it easy to travel by public transport”, says Eiken.
Rom Eiendom is now building a four storey commercial building with space for shops, service- and commercial units over the tracks. This will become a workplace for many people – in close proximity to many modes of public transport.
We are superbly placed for the traffic we get here.Meri Carina Hammer, shop proprietor at Eidsvoll station
Nowhere is diversity greater than at Oslo S. 150,000 people pass through Norway’s busiest meeting place every day. That’s almost three times as many as through Norway’s second busiest, Oslo Airport Gardermoen.
And «busy» is the key word when developing a hub like Oslo S. ROM Eiendom knows that commuters collecting children from kindergarten on their way home only have a few minutes leeway between office and platform. To be able to fix a few errands while passing through. To shop, for instance. At Oslo S you will find both chemists, florists, grocery shops, post office, hair dressers and liquor store – just to mention a few.
”A commuter has normally little time to wait in long queues, and in that case will shop somewhere else. An important hub like Oslo S must have the shops people need, organized in an efficient manner. We see that people tend to choose familiar chains and brands when they are in a hurry”, says centre director at Oslo S, Torstein Heldal in ROM Eiendom.
Heldal mentions the example of the coffee bar at Oslo S, which had a skilled barista who served good coffee. But the name was unfamiliar and there were few customers.
“Then we got one of the best known coffee chains in the world in, and presto, sales increased by 450 per cent! This increase is not due to the coffee bar being four and a half times better. The traveller’s decision making process is so short that he is drawn towards brands he knows well”, says Heldal.
The traveller’s decision-making process is so short that he is drawn towards brands he knows well.Torstein Heldal, Centre director at Oslo S, ROM Eiendom
When the new Østbanehallen was completed in February 2015, it was to give passengers an alternative experience. This is the closest Oslo comes to an Italian piazza. Ten restaurants and shops offer the guests a welcoming atmosphere.
The shop staff in Østbanehallen realised quickly that time is of the essence for the customer here too. They offered wonderful delicacies which customers could prepare at home. It did not take off. But when they offered ready-to-eat meals, it became a success.
Eidsvoll station is a junction where three railway lines, Gardermobanen, Hovedbanen and Dovrebanen, meet, with bus- and taxi stops situated right by the station building. Between Eidsvoll and Oslo trains run almost non-stop. This is good news for many who commute to work in the capital. It may also be one of the reasons why the municipality has experienced strong population growth.
Inside the station passengers can buy a newspaper and purchase kiosk articles.
Recently ROM Eiendom installed a new, exciting service: Bellas Emne is an interior designer and lifestyle shop that also sells coffee and home baked pastries for travellers on the move. “Our location is fantastic due to all the traffic we get here. Many pop in if they have time to spare, leading to some impulse shopping. We also have visitors who are not travelling, says the owner Meri Carina Hammer. She moved the shop from a large shopping complex in Strømmen to Eidsvoll station in December 2015.
“The shop has been very well received”, says Hammer, and adds that the Eidsvoll station locality has been a success.
A station is not only a station. It has taken on a new function. The station is the hub where work meets leisure, where people meet and where daily tasks may be carried out efficiently, coupled with a seamless journey.
“To achieve seamless journeys is important to us in ROM Eiendom. It is all about rethinking and innovation, and keeping the customer’s needs in focus. The goal is to create good, vibrant urban spaces that make it easy to choose to leave the car at home”, says Petter Eiken in ROM Eiendom.
General Manager at Flavours Food Market in Østbanehallen
It is fantastic to work in Østbanehallen! It has become so nice, at the same time it’s always quiet and has a good atmosphere, even when it is busy. People take their time and many who travel, purchase local food with them as a souvenir. It is very important for us to offer passengers fast service and an effective meal.
Commuter Voss-Oslo Airport
There is no doubt that the services offered have improved lately. I always travel NSB ‘Komfort’ and am happy with that, and I am interested in the same comfort on the stations too. I use the cafes at Oslo Sand would rather wait here than at Oslo Airport. Here I can shop at the supermarket when the refrigerator at home is empty.
Commuter from Vestby to school at Lysaker
Daily I change trains at Oslo S, because there is no direct connection between Vestby and Lysaker. I usually only need to wait a few minutes between each train, so it works out really well and makes it easy to be a commuter. Sometimes I wait for my stepmother at Oslo S, and then we buy food.