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SCC to Ask London Mayor to Scrap Plans to Withdraw Travelcards

Published on: 12 Oct, 2023
Updated on: 13 Oct, 2023

By Emily Coady-Stemp

local democracy reporter

More than 60 Surrey train stations would be impacted if plans to abolish day travelcards go ahead, in a move that has been put forward to raise money for Transport for London (TfL).

Surrey councillors will push for a zone six extension and government intervention in the proposals to get rid of day travelcards in to London.

A Surrey County Council meeting on Tuesday (October 10) agreed to write to the Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper, to ask him to intervene in the matter.

The council will also request a joint meeting with the Department for Transport and TfL to look at extending zone six further into Surrey, and will call on Sadiq Khan to withdraw plans to remove day travelcards.

TfL gave notice that it planned to withdraw from a funding agreement with train operators which covers the tickets, which it claims leaves the operator “effectively under-funded” at a cost of around £40m a year.

If day travelcards are withdrawn, it will mean Surrey residents would need to buy separate tickets for rail travel and TfL journeys, with one councillor claiming families would pay 16 per cent more for their tickets and individuals seven per cent more.

Cllr Matt Furniss

Cllr Matt Furniss (Con, Shalford) said day travelcards helped avoid higher fares when travelling in and around London, and said ensuring public transport was affordable and accessible to all should be a priority both for the council and the London Assembly.

Cllr Furniss told the meeting: “There’s an invisible wall that has been drawn around London at this time by the Mayor of London.

“It is a boundary to restrict the freedom of movement across an administrative boundary which is affecting families from both inside and outside London.”

He said disability groups had raised concerns about the impact on people with disabilities if the travelcards were scrapped, raising concerns about time limits and contactless payments.

Of the possible price rises, he said: “In the midst of a cost of living and climate challenge, these rises will be too much to bear for many.”

He said that rather than “filling the gap in TfL’s coffers”, the plans could actually have a negative impact on TfL’s income stream and called for more integrated ticketing, rather than a reduction.

Cllr Furniss had put forward a motion to simply write to the London Mayor about the issue, but an amendment was put forward by the Green group leader on the council to include writing to the secretary of state on the matter.

Cllr Jonathan Essex

Cllr Jonathan Essex (Green, Redhill East) pointed out central government funding reductions which he said left TfL “over-dependent” on ticket revenue to fund its transport services.

He said TfL now received “less revenue support from government than any comparable world city”.

But he added that any future talks needed to be open and transparent.

Cllr Essex told the meeting: “We must make sure there’s greater transparency and accountability than these cloak and dagger talks to date, where we haven’t been part of the talks but neither even have been the Greater London Authority.

“Not included. We should be going forward.”

With cross-party support, the Lib Dem group leader Cllr Will Forster (Lib Dem, Woking South) called it “ridiculous” that already you could use your oyster or debit card to leave trains at Surbiton but not at Woking, and that residents didn’t understand the difference.

Cllr Will Forster

He said: “TfL is being asked to do a lot with very little.

“London as a global city is not funded the way other global cities are funded.

“Over 70 per cent of the cost of travel in London is having to be funded from the fare, whereas in Paris it is not even 30 per cent.”

The meeting also heard that with a deadline of January for when the changes came in, there was not a lot of time to arrange talks to try to halt them.

Cllr Jeremy Webster (Con, Caterham Hill) said in total there were 84 railway stations in Surrey, and that most of these would be affected by the planned scrapping of day travelcards.

He added: “The impact of this is substantial.

“My belief is it’s a discriminatory action against the elderly, disabled, families, children and those on low incomes.

“This is because large numbers of people do not have access to modern technology or a bank card. My 75-year-old brother fits this category.”

The full list of 63 Surrey stations affected by the changes would be:

Addlestone, Ash, Ash Vale, Ashford (Surrey), Ashtead, Bagshot, Betchworth, Bookham, Box Hill & Westhumble, Brookwood, Byfleet & New Haw, Camberley, Chertsey, Chilworth, Clandon, Claygate, Cobham & Stoke d’Abernon, Dorking Deepdene, Dorking, Dorking West, Dormans, Effingham Junction, Egham, Esher, Farncombe, Farnham, Frimley, Godalming, Godstone, Gomshall, Guildford, Haslemere, Hersham, Hinchley Wood,  Holmwood, Horsley, Hurst Green, Kempton Park, Leatherhead, Lingfield, London Road (Guildford), Longcross, Milford, North Camp, Nutfield, Ockley, Oxshott, Oxted,  Reigate, Shalford, Shepperton, Staines, Sunbury (Surrey), Upper Halliford, Virginia Water, Walton on-Thames, Wanborough, West Byfleet, Weybridge,  Witley, Woking, Woldingham, Worplesdon.

A TfL spokesperson previously said: “This is the first stage in a process and there are no changes to tickets at this time.

“This is an operational decision that has been taken now to ensure that TfL meets the requirements of its funding agreement, but TfL continues to look for alternative options.”

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Responses to SCC to Ask London Mayor to Scrap Plans to Withdraw Travelcards

  1. jim allen Reply

    October 12, 2023 at 3:05 pm

    I have no reason to go ‘up to town’ nor had a reason for many a long year

    On this occasion Cllr Furniss is right (wow!) having an integrated ticket across the South East encourages train travel. In the old days (of steam) at Sandhurst Holt you could catch buy a ticket and board a train to Dover ferry or Liverpool ferry to Dublin – it was on the direct line and any station across the country. One ticket!

    By implication to get to London less than 30 miles away you will need 2 tickets. and a third going north on the other side of London or will it be a ‘vacuum’ ticket with the middle bit of the journey missing between mainline stations in London.

    Such introduction of travel madness needs to stop. The transport envelope / balloon around London needs removing

  2. H Trevor Jones Reply

    October 13, 2023 at 10:58 am

    It’s not just the cost of tickets but the convenience of the travelcard, one ticket from the machine at (eg) Guildford station to cover all your travel to, from and around London and its suburbs, for one day.

    It also gives the flexibility of going out one way and coming back another without deciding in advance. Although I’ve not checked, certain journeys just to one point in Central London might actually be cheaper (but more troublesome) with separate ticketing or with a Zone 1 addition which I believe will remain available, and of course some folk may be tempted to walk from Waterloo or Victoria to where they are going instead of taking the tube, so saving them money but reducing TfL income!

  3. Arthur Kinnie Reply

    October 13, 2023 at 5:04 pm

    Yes Good Afternoon Getting Rid Of TravelCards Is Now Fair It’s Our Of Order It Is Cheap And Quick To Get Around London And What Ab Family’s And Kids And Family Day TravelCards This Is Stuiped Now Keep Day TravelCards. Please Please Keep Day TravelCards. It’s Not Fair. Why Should I And Other Customer’s And FAMILY’S Have To Pay More No Way. Why Should We Buy A Return Then A Oyster Card It’s NOT FAIR. GET A PETITION UP SAVE DAY TRAVELCARDS ITS NOT FAIR

  4. Peter Blow Reply

    October 16, 2023 at 4:14 pm

    I watched a video on Youtube a couple of days ago that explained the actual difference in cost.

    Taking the price cap into account when travelling, if you stay in zone 1/2 and pay by oyster, the extra cost is only 70p.

    There does appear to be a lot of people complaining without actually knowing what the impact is.

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