Reigate and Banstead Greens say that local commuters are paying fares up to four times higher than their European counterparts.
A commuter with an annual season ticket from Redhill to London terminals pays £2,696.00 a year for their 19-mile journey. The Greens say that for similar length journeys on annual tickets, Europeans pay:
- in France, from the commuter town of Ballancourt-sur-Essonne to Paris (24 miles), £566.89
- in Spain, Collado-Villalba to Madrid (22 miles), £603.70
- in Germany, Strausberg to Berlin (21 miles), £714.13
The party says that the European tickets also allow for travel within the capital, whereas in the Redhill example the onward journey by tube or bus would need to be paid for on top.
Green MP Caroline Lucas is today due to lead the second reading of her Private Member’s Bill in the House of Commons to renationalise the railways.
Redhill borough and county councillor Jonathan Essex urged support for the bill:
“Redhill train travellers are getting a poor deal from privatised rail companies – with any profits steaming out of the window to shareholders, ironically including the French nationalised rail company.*
Meanwhile, one of the privatised South East train companies – Govia Thameslink Railways Ltd – is proposing cutting 400 guard/conductor jobs from its trains, leading to fears of increased risks to passenger safety.
In a bid to cut costs and make more profits, services are often poor and unreliable, as well as expensive. And now passenger safety could be compromised by a driver-only service on the Thameslink trains. Let’s hope our local MPs Crispin Blunt and Sam Gyimah support Caroline Lucas MP’s Bill to finally get rail back on the right track.
And it’s vital that while the benefits of Oyster touch-in-and- touch-out are welcome, the repeated demands of Redhill and District Rail User’s Association for fair fares from the Redhill area are met.”
On the possible reduction in guards, a spokesperson for Govia Thameslink told reigate.uk:
“We are exploring ways in which we can improve the on-train experience for our passengers and we want our on-train team to be more visible, accessible and better able to provide service information.
We take the safety and security of our passengers very seriously. On some services, the conductor role will remain in full, but the modern rolling stock that we are introducing, to keep up with the rapidly growing demand on our services means that there are opportunities to review how we deliver further improvements in reliability, punctuality, the quality of on board service and customer satisfaction, all things we know our passengers value.”
Last week, in response to Crispin Blunt’s Westminster Hall debate on local rail issues, Govia Thameslink apologised for performance issues and outlined improvement plans (see our article here). On fares the spokesperson said:
“Regulated fares such as season tickets are regulated by Government which is committed to RPI plus 0%. This year, Govia Thameslink Railway’s fares rose on average by just 0.8% – and many tickets were frozen completely. Singles and returns from London to Gatwick with Gatwick Express, stayed the same as did all fares under £10 on services that start or end outside the London Travelcard zone.”
*French rail company SNCF has a majority stake in Keolis, which in turn is a partner in Govia. Govia Thameslink Railway is part of Govia.