2nd November 2012
MP Chris Grayling has pledged his continued commitment to get Epsom into Zone 6, saying he has set the wheels in motion for ‘a battle he wants Epsom to win’.
In July, Southern rail company, which has the franchise to run services through Epsom, said it was “willing to work towards” getting the station into a London travel zone.
The concession followed the Epsom Guardian’s hugely popular Zone 6 for Epsom campaign, which highlighted that a move to allow people to use Oyster cards at the station would make travel from the station to London easier and cheaper, and encourage more Londoners to travel out to Epsom, providing a welcome boost to its struggling shopping centre.
A number of stations which are further out from central London, such Epsom Downs, Tattenham Corner and Tadworth stations are also already in Zone 6.
Mr Grayling said this week he remains “fully committed” to the campaign and has written to Transport Minister Stephen Hammond for the “green light” to start discussions. “I have put in a formal request to Stephen Hammond.
“In order for discussions to happen between Southern, South West Trains and myself, the Zone 6 issue needs permission from the Department of Transport as Southern has said they were fine to work towards it but didn’t want to lose out financially as a result.
“The problem for Southern with moving Epsom into Zone 6 is they would lose the Southern-only tickets that you can buy at the station.
“I’m waiting for a response now but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.”
Mr Grayling said ministerial changes and the Government’s West Coast mainline franchise fiasco had resulted in a slight “hiatus” but reassured residents he is doing all he can.
He said: “Southern said it was by no means impossible to do it.
“One option is to get Zone 6 written into the new franchise agreement but the franchising process has now been delayed so my aim is to get permission to make the change beforehand. “I’m fully committed to this – it’s a battle I want us to win.”
Chris Grayling has been told by Southern, the train company which operates Epsom Station that is has no objection in principle to Epsom being moved into zone 6, as long as a deal can be done which means that there is a fair distribution of fare income so it doesn’t lose out as a result. The news follows a campaign organised locally by Chris and backed by the Epsom Guardian. Thousands of people signed a petition organised by the Guardian, which he presented to Southern at the meeting.
Chris said: “This is a definite step in the right direction. The next step involves me meeting my ministerial colleagues at the Department for Transport to ask for their help in moving towards an agreement on the zone 6 issue.”