Speaking at the Annual General Meeting of the Reigate, Redhill and District Rail Users’ Association on Thursday 30th March, in his role as its President, Crispin Blunt, MP for Reigate, gave an update on the many ways he has been working for improvements to the local rail service and pledging to continue to campaign for a more a reliable, punctual, properly resourced and fairly priced service in the future.
Whilst unable to intervene directly in recent massively disruptive industrial action between ASLEF, RMT and Govia Thameslink Railway, Crispin Blunt has been focusing his efforts in Parliament on areas where he can use his influence make a difference, including improved funding for and prioritisation of essential rail infrastructure improvements on the Southern Rail and Thameslink networks, improved compensation for passengers affected by delays and cancellations, improvements to the 2018 timetable for services on the Reigate and Redhill Lines, and the historic issue of anomalously high fares faced by passengers travelling from Redhill and Reigate compared to other stations in the region.
Mr Blunt talked about recent development in the campaign to reduce fares and streamline ticketing for local rail users by proposing the introduction of Transport for London Oyster Zoning to all stations between Coulsdon South and Gatwick Airport, including Reigate. He has recently been actively engaged at a senior level with the Department for Transport, Govia Thameslink Railway, Transport for London and the Treasury on this subject.
Mr Blunt noted: “Over the past year I have upped the ante on the fair fares campaign, as I believe it has been particularly unfair for local rail users to pay over the odds for tickets at the same time as enduring a reduction in the quality, frequency and reliability of their service, even before last year’s strikes kicked in. I have had several informal meetings with Ministers who have expressed a willingness to take a new approach and meaningful steps to resolve local fare anomalies. I will be taking a group from the Rail Users’ Association to meet the Rail Minister in May to discuss costed proposals to extend TfL Zone 6 to Gatwick Airport. I will keep making the case and I hope that the Rail Minister will finally cut through some of the inertia in the Department for Transport, which has slowed down the move to smart ticketing and simplification of fares through national, regional and local zoning.”