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Transport for London

Transport for London and MIW

In 2018, in response to growing public demand, Transport for London (TfL) began looking for ways to make drinking water more accessible across its network. The body, which has responsibility for more than 400 rail stations across London, was looking for a system that would both help passengers to remain hydrated while travelling and work towards reducing waste plastic. As the UK’s leading authority on drinking fountains and bottle fillers, MIW Water Cooler Experts was enlisted to execute the project.

The Brief

Responsible for some of the UK’s busiest transport hubs – Waterloo Station alone accommodates more than 94 million passengers annually – TfL had some specific requirements for MIW to meet.
 

  • MIW was initially contacted in an advisory capacity. The team would be required to visit selected sites and assess the viability of installing drinking equipment, advising upon locations, the type of equipment most suited to the stations – bottle fillers, drinking fountains or combination units – recommending equipment that would best meet TfL’s requirements, and highlighting any areas of potential improvement.
  • Being sited in very busy public spaces, the drinking equipment required by TfL would need to be durable and vandal-proof. It must be easy to use and accessible to as wide a number of users as possible – including the less able, in accordance with the ADA American with Disabilities Act & the UK Equality Act (2010). Ideally, the units would also be low-maintenance and fast to function.
  • One of the foremost requirements of TfL was that the equipment should adhere to strict water authority guidelines.
  • Once appropriate models had been selected, MIW would be required to oversee the acquisition and branding of the drinking fountains and take responsibility for all logistics.
  • MIW would work on a rolling contract to install an initial a number of bottle filling stations, adding further units when and where required.
  • Post-installation, MIW would also provide a regular maintenance service on a scheduled or ad hoc basis of the drinking units.

The Process

This project saw the MIW team working across a diverse range of locations, assessing the suitability for the installation of drinking equipment, indoors, outdoors, above and below ground. This meant that rather than working with a single piece of drinking equipment, MIW needed to recommend individual units based upon the specifics of each location. Some units had to be customised to TfL’s requirements. This had the potential to increase the lead time necessary for each installation, so MIW needed to take precautions to ensure that no delays took place.

Working with the company’s global partner, Elkay, MIW was able to facilitate the installation of a range a of different Halsey Taylor drinking fountains and refill stations. All of the units selected for installation were already WRAS-approved (Water Regulation Advisory Scheme), guaranteeing that they met the stringent water authority guidelines laid out by TfL’s Technical Division. They had also been pre-assessed as compliant with the ADA American with Disabilities Act & the United Kingdom’s Equality Act (2010). All units were selected for their ease of use, with hands-free operation where possible, to limit the potential for damage and hygiene reduction. All of the units to be installed outdoors were also finished with a highly durable weather-proof coating.

Prior to installation, MIW worked with the TfL Project Management Team to arrange the customisation of some of the equipment. Each unit was branded according to TfL’s requirements.

Throughout the project MIW worked with a series of external contractors to ensure that the installations took place as and when planned, without causing any disruption to the flow of the stations.

The Project Continues

At the time of writing July 2019, MIW has installed bottle fillers and drinking fountains across the TfL network, including some of the UK’s busiest stations: Waterloo, Imperial Wharf and Cannon Street Station.

Each unit has been installed in line with a carefully planned schedule created by MIW and TfL. MIW has provided advice, technical information, logistical management and service.

Working on a rolling contract, MIW will continue to add public drinking equipment to the stations of the TfL network, and service the existing units, throughout the course of the next number of years.