Southern 'willing to work towards' Zone 6 for Epsom station
Train company Southern has said it is willing to work towards getting Epsom station into Zone 6.
The concession came at a key meeting on Friday between Chris Grayling MP and the managing director of Southern, Chris Burchell, which has the franchise to run services through Epsom station.
Just last month Mr Grayling received a letter from the company saying no to the move, which has been backed by thousands of residents since the campaign was launched in this newspaper.
Mr Grayling said that on Friday Southern indicated that it is not opposed to the idea and understands the logic behind having Epsom in a London zone - as long as it does not lose out financially.
Mr Grayling said: "We had quite a constructive meeting.
"Southern is not opposed, in principle, to the idea - as long as it can be done in a way that is financially neutral from its point of view, and there is agreement between the other organisations involved.
"There are a number of things we need to pursue, but we have agreed to work together with a view to making it happen.
"One issue Southern has is the way in which revenue from each station is allocated and it doesn’t want to lose out financially if the allocations change around. It doesn’t want its fares to go elsewhere.
"But I think there are ways around their concerns."
Mr Grayling said he will now arrange meetings with the Department for Transport, South West Trains and Transport for London, but is optimistic that Southern "gets the issue".
The shift in Southern's position will be welcomed by all the residents, businesses, commuters and students who have backed our campaign- through signing our petition, contacting Southern, attending rallies and displaying posters.
Mr Grayling added: "Southern was well aware of the Epsom Guardian’s campaign and petition and the strong local opinion. We have got the message across."
He also said that the smart card system which Southern is looking to introduce across its network - a reusable card which can be renewed with various types of tickets and will be a easier and "greener alternative" to paper tickets - should not affect getting Epsom into Zone 6.
He said: "Southern is looking to introduce a smart card system across the whole of its network for users, but this is a different issue from having Epsom in a London zone so Oyster Cards can be used there.
"There is no reason why the two can’t interact - having the smart card system will mean the technology will already be in place to help do it."