Bring Epsom into London Zone 6
9:32am Thursday 10th May 2012 in Zone 6 Campaign
Today we are urging readers to back a campaign to finally get Epsom station included in London travel Zone Six.
For many years people have argued for the move which would allow people to use Oyster cards at the station, making travel from the station to London easier and cheaper.
It should also encourage more Londoners to travel out to Epsom, providing a welcome boost to its stuggling shopping centre.
A number of stations which are further from central London, such Epsom Downs, Tattenham Corner and Tadworth stations have been included in Zone Six after pressure from residents and local MP Chris Grayling - but Epsom has been snubbed.
He believes the current multi-million pound re-development of the station, which includes the installation of new ticket machines and is due to be completed next month, is the perfect opportunity to step up the pressure on this issue.
In 2007, he led a successful campaign in 2007 to get Stoneleigh and Ewell West stations moved into Zone Six.
He has already written to Transport for London (TfL) and train operating company Southern, which runs trains through the station, and has promised to raise the issue directly with the newly re-elected Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
Mr Grayling said: "Epsom is the point at which both rail lines to Waterloo and Victoria and the ones to London Bridge all join up.
"It seems entirely logical that this is the point at which Zone Six ends and the Oyster Card starts.
He said TfL buses already served Epsom, so could see "no reason" why trains couldn't be considered for the capital zone system.
"This is an inner station not an outer station - we’re not talking about Woking or Guildford," he added.
"This is one of the busiest train stations to the south of London.
"I will be talking to the Mayor of London about this, but the real decision-makers are Transport for London, Southern and South West Trains as they all sit as part of a grouping which takes decisions like this.
"I will be pushing them to put this back on the agenda over the next few months."
A spokesman for independent transport watchdog, London TravelWatch, also backed the campaign.
He said: "London TravelWatch has been asking for this change to be made for many years but it is unfortunately something that South West Trains have resisted on the grounds that they would lose revenue.
"We are therefore delighted that this is an issue that the local MP has decided to highlight."
And Yacine Antri, manager at Wilkinsons, in Epsom High Street, said the move could boost business in the town.
"I think it might influence people to come here because they would think of Epsom as a part of London," she said.
"If you compare Epsom with Kingston, many people visit Kingston for shopping, it is known as a commercial area.
"If Epsom was in a London zone, they might have the same idea and come here.
"We should try anything and everything to bring people into Epsom. Nothing should be under-estimated.
"I support the campaign and I would think other shops in the high street would do the same thing."
Sophie Cooper, store supervisor at JD Sports, also in the High Street, said: "If it was in Zone Six people would travel out more. It is expensive to get to even one more stop from Epsom.
"I think other shops would support it as we would want the business."
Shashi Verma, TfL’s director of customer experience, said: "We do not have any objections to Epsom becoming part of the Zone Six travelcard area.
"Any change however would need to be led by Southern, the relevant train operating company, because the station is located outside Greater London and TfL’s geographical remit."
But a spokesman at Southern said it was in the process of responding to Mr Grayling’s letter and could not comment on the issue until then.
What is the Oyster card?
The Oyster electronic ticketing system was designed to reduce the number of paper tickets and transactions at ticket offices.
Users are encouraged to use it by the substantially cheaper fares it offers compared to cash payments.
An anytime one-day travel card bought from Epsom station for unlimited travel by bus, train and tube within the relevant London zones costs £17.20, but a Zone One to Six travel card, allowing the same options of travel, costs £15.80.
How you can help
- Click here to sign our online petition
- Write with your views on the issue to Chris Grayling MP at email@example.com or send him a letter at his office at The House of Commons, Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA