Crispin Blunt MP is delighted that the Rail Minister has responded to local rail users’ prolonged campaign for fairer fares, with a series of ticketing measures announced today.
Firstly, customers with (or purchasing before 1st January) Southern Only season tickets will have their ticket upgraded so they can use all Thameslink services (all services except Gatwick Express).
Secondly, regulated fares for customers travelling from Redhill, Reigate and other local stations* will be frozen. The average increase of 3.6% will not apply to these local stations, in recognition of the relatively higher prices rail users have been paying on this part of the network.
Thirdly, the Rail Minister, Paul Maynard MP, has initiated work that will look at options to rectify the injustice of higher fares at Redhill and local stations – known as the ‘Redhill Hump’ – with a view to implementing changes before the end of the life of the current Govia Thameslink franchise in 2021. This should also enable the new fare structure to take advantage of future ‘smart ticketing’ arrangements.
Fourthly, they are looking again at the May 2018 timetable to see if it can further improved for Redhill commuters, but all parties recognise the difficulty.
These undertakings were made at a meeting with the Rail Minister and his key officials on Wednesday. The Minister and his team acknowledged both the strength of the Reigate, Redhill & District Rail Users’ (RRDRUA) campaign and that they have a good case.
Crispin Blunt commented:
“After a prolonged campaign for fairer fares, I’m delighted that Redhill and Reigate rail users have been given a Christmas present in the form of this fares freeze and a Ministerial commitment to try to address the historic anomaly of higher fares for passengers using Redhill, Reigate and other local stations.
“Our campaign has been going since 2014 and I am grateful that we have a Rail Minister who is finally demanding regular updates on how the system can address the unfairness to local commuters.
“Paul Maynard has listened to the concerns that the Reigate, Redhill and District Rail Users’ Association and I have raised with him and has given this issue his personal attention. I want to thank him for his openness, responsiveness and commitment to rectifying the ‘Redhill Hump’. I am obviously very pleased that we have been given a fares freeze as a first step. It’s a nice note on which to go into the Christmas season and I would like to thank all the rail users who have given their active support to this campaign.”
Stephen Trigg, Chair of the RRDRUA commented:
“I’m delighted our hard work at RRDRUA (being assisted in Parliament by Crispin) is finally being recognised by the Department for Transport, and that the passengers along the Redhill Route are finally starting to get the treatment they deserve. Thank You Paul Maynard for taking the bull by the horns and getting us a small start along the route to fair fares and we look forward to helping the Department with further improvements in 2018.”
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR)/Department for Transport (DfT) announcement:
My train has changed from a Southern service to a Thameslink service and I hold a “Southern only ticket”. Is my ticket still valid?
If your ticket says ‘Not Gatwick Express’ or ‘Any Permitted’ then you can continue to travel as usual. If you have a ‘Southern only’ ticket, this will be valid for travel up until 31st January 2018 on the new Thameslink trains. After this time, you will need to change your ticket for a ticket that says ‘Not Gatwick Express’ or ‘Any Permitted’. Please speak to the staff in the ticket office on how to do this. If you hold a season ticket with an expiry date after 31st January, please visit the station to change your ticket free of charge as soon as possible.
*GTR and the DfT have reviewed fares on the Brighton Main Line and we’re pleased to announce that this has resulted in a fares freeze for certain season ticket prices at the following stations:
• Gatwick Airport
This will result in a simplified fares structure for customers in line with timetable changes being made in relation to the Thameslink programme.