Finally some good news for rail commuters

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.”

Notes:

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
•    Horley
•    Earlswood
•    Salfords
•    Redhill
•    Reigate

This will result in a simplified fares structure for customers in line with timetable changes being made in relation to the Thameslink programme.

GTR Southern surprise thousands of Redhill, Reigate and Horley rail users at Christmas with a sneaky 14% Fare Increase!

GTR Southern surprise thousands of Redhill, Reigate and Horley rail users at Christmas with a sneaky 14% Fare Increase!

  • Many fares along the Redhill route subject to stealth increase of up to 14% on Monday 10th December which has not been communicated to passengers.
  • This increase is on top of the previously announced 3.6% annual increase due in January – thus together hard-pressed commuters will find their fares will rise by 17%.
  • A further example of the unfair fare treatment applied to passengers on the Redhill route

Commuters on Monday morning will, without warning, find a special Christmas present from Southern, some of their daily trains will have transferred to Thameslink and their “Southern Only” tickets will not be valid on the replacement trains, forcing them to pay higher fares on the new Thameslink services. Both Thameslink and Southern are operated by the same parent company GTR.

And to add further misery to commuters the new ‘improved’ Thameslink services have less seats than the Southern trains they replace.

Clair Read on the RRDRUA Facebook group who travels daily from Horley said:

Horley is currently only served by Southern trains so we’ve all bought Southern only season tickets. The new January timetable says that one of the only 2 direct rush hour trains to London Bridge will be changed to Thameslink. So, we’ll have to pay an extra £288 +3.3% fare increase to receive that same (dis)service that we do now. It’s just another way for them to squeeze extra money out of us. We can’t buy a Thameslink only ticket as the trains home are all Southern 😠.”

GTR are offering to replace cheaper “Southern Only” tickets with more expensive ones, as the majority of tickets used are “Southern only” this creates a price rise as there will no longer be Southern Services. No Solution in place even for Season Ticket Holders of “Southern Only” tickets bought in good faith that the service would continue.

The “Department for Transport” are fully complicit in this change, it is there responsibility to prevent this kind of problem from happening. The DFT have directed the change of service provider but not engaged on the effects with local passengers. RRDRUA have written several times to make them aware of this enforced price rise and also on the “Redhill Hump” where fares from Redhill route are between 11 and 40% higher than other nearby stations in the first place. DfT have refused to engage or even assist local passengers on this.

We have written to Chris Grayling Secretary of State and have met with Paul Maynard Transport Minister. Mr Maynard promised a solution for the Redhill route in September but has not yet made any suggestions.

In 2015, over 3,300 Redhill Route passengers petitioned for London Zone 6 pricing to make the fares fair from the Redhill route. Oyster readers have been installed along the line but are the only Oyster readers in use that do not guarantee the lowest fare and often paper tickets are cheaper – adding to the loss and confusion felt by thousands of Redhill passengers daily.

Stephen Trigg RRDRUA Chairman said “The DfT again let down Redhill passengers with more overpriced tickets, we need Travelcard Zone 6 along our stations now and definitely before May next year when even more trains go to Thameslink and many more passengers receive this back-door Fare increase.”

Contact:

Stephen Trigg     steve@rrdrua.co.uk
07801 552 915       www.rrdrua.org.uk
Chairperson – Reigate, Redhill and District Rail Users Association

Notes to Editors:

The unfair Redhill pricing hump – this is where prices rise by 47% from Stations along the Redhill route after London Travelcard zones and then fall by 15% as you reach Sussex. Meaning Redhill Passengers pay more than Sussex passengers who services are faster and more regular into London

Stations in order from London Cheapest Annual

Z1-6 Travel Card

% Increase by Station from Coulsdon % Increase by Station from Redhill
Coulsdon South £2,492.00
Redhill £3,652.00 47%
Horley £4,204.00 69% 15%
Gatwick Airport £3,448.00 38% -6%
Three Bridges £3,448.00 38% -6%

Thameslink – Southern services to London Bridge are being taken over by Thameslink in May 2018. As part of this shift key peak trains are changing in December 2017.

Price Comparisons – showing how fares are changing

2018 Prices Shown Current From 10 Dec Cost %
Ticket Price Ticket Price Increase Increase
Horley to London Bridge GTW to LBG (Southern only) £2,524.00 GTW to LBG (Any) £2,820.00 £296.00 12%
Horley to Z1-6 Travelcard GTW – Z1-6 (Southern only) £3,944.00 GTW – Zone 1-6 Travelcard £4,504.00 £560.00 14%
Redhill to London Bridge GTW to LBG (Southern Only) £2,524.00 RDH to London Terminals £2,804.00 £280.00 11%
Reigate to London Bridge Dorking West to LBG (Southern only) £2,564.00 Rei to London Terminals £2,844.00 £280.00 11%

GTR have this advice on their Website in the small print 

In the FAQ section here https://www.southernrailway.com/travel-information/plan-your-journey/timetable [Screenshot].

“My train is changing from a Southern service to a Thameslink service. 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 not be valid on the new Thameslink trains and you will either have to travel on an earlier or later Southern service or 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.”

Petition calling for Zone 6 : https://www.change.org/p/patrick-mcloughlin-secretary-of-state-for-transport-redhill-route-stations-including-reigate-nutfield-and-stations-between-merstham-and-horley-to-be-included-in-oyster-zone-6

Article: http://reigate.uk/rail-petition-handed-to-government/

Press Release: Southern Rail Isn’t Working

Today RRDRUA launched a demand for the RMT, the Department for Transport and Southern Rail (GTR) to get together, preferably in a locked room and sort out the disputes to the satisfaction of all so we can have our lives back.

Southern Rails Isn't Working.

At Redhill we have had 10 years of cuts, reduction in services and extending journey times. We have suffered unfairly with additional burdens of delays and skip stopping. Fares are much higher than other local routes as GTR passengers have been subsidising London passengers for many years.

Now with the constant industrial disputes between GTR Southern and its staff we want the Government who control the service under a management contract, GTR Southern and the RMT union orchestrating the dispute to all sit together in a room and sort it out urgently for all the thousands of Passengers who lives are being ruined by their actions

WE WANT OUR LIVES BACK

Stephen Trigg
Chairperson – Reigate, Redhill and District Rail Users Association
www.rrdrua.org.uk

A copy of this press release can be downloaded here (PDF 458KB).

An image of the advert is available here, and in PDF format here.

Government slap in the face for Redhill area commuters

Passengers who use the Redhill route into London have been dealt another slap in the face, following the Government announcement of a drop in ticket fares for stations included in its multi-billion pound CrossRail scheme.

Transport for London (TfL) recently announced that commuter stations soon to be part of CrossRail will see fares fall by up to 40%. Redhill route passengers travelling into London still pay significantly higher than many stations further out of the capital.

Redhill Route rail users:

  • pay higher fares than passengers from East Grinstead or Three Bridges
  • pay almost 50% more than stations within TfL travel zones
  • have been explicitly denied any compensation from the Government for four years’ poor service whilst London Bridge works are carried out

Steve Trigg, Chair of Reigate, Redhill & District Rail Users Association (RRDRUA), said:

“This is another slap in the face for Redhill area passengers. The Government could reduce fares from our stations, but they have refused. Meanwhile, we see huge fare drops for fellow commuters along the CrossRail Route. “This is a postcode penalty for anyone living in the Redhill area, from a government who has invested nothing in our rail line but creates misery for our commuters with grand schemes in London. Redhill route fares to London are over £1000 a year more than fares from nearby stations. It’s time the Government listened, stopped us subsidising others and gave us Fair Fares.”

RRDRUA is urging everyone to sign their petition for Redhill-area stations to be included in TfL Oyster Zone 6, which would reduce ticket costs for anyone travelling into London. The petition is available online: http://tinyurl.com/og3lenh

ENDS

For further information (media enquiries only) please contact:

Sara Pont
RRDRUA Media Officer
07759634595
pressofficer@rrdrua.org.uk