2008 PRICE HIKES FROM 7.75% to 11.75%
GRAVESEND TO ST PANCRAS FARE ADDITIONAL CHARGE OF 30%
70-90 PASSENGERS PER CARRIAGE FROM 2009
INCREASED JOURNEY TIMES FOR CANNON ST / VICTORIA
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SIGNED BOTH PETITIONS:
29 November 2007
Thanks to all you commuters who have given your overwhelming support to our campaign. We have had a great response from our fellow passengers, and interest from local press and councillors. We have contacted Southeastern in search of accurate information for you, and will be contacting the unions as well.
As mentioned in our last newsletter (App. 1: Mike Gibson's letter), the specifications on which the franchise was put out to tender are being reviewed. Sadly this doesn't mean we will be renationalised, but it does mean a review of the 2009 timetable - so now is the time to make your voice heard. Get everyone you can to support our petitions (please sign both!). Also write to Southeastern (firstname.lastname@example.org), your local MP (addresses below, as before), councillors and the local press.
Ask the following questions which we all, as fare paying passengers and tax paying citizens, want answered:
What is the frequency of commuter trains to Cannon Street and Victoria FROM 2009 (number and exact times)?
Southeastern declared for December 2009 (no mention of what happens going forward) 4 per peak period to Cannon St (2 from Faversham and 2 from Broadstairs) and 6 per peak period to Victoria.
What is the number of first and second class passengers per service compared to number of first and second class seats that will be provided?
Southeastern are proposing to have at least 90 passengers per carriage per train on the Cannon Street service and 70 on Victoria trains - and this is if each train has 12 carriages.
How many additional stops will each train make?
Southeastern admit to at least two, but we have been told it will be Longfield, Meopham and Swanley.
What is the proposed increase to current journey times for Victoria and Cannon St? Southeastern admit journey times "do take a bit longer" - probably long enough to force us all onto the St Pancras service.
Exactly what are the proposed fare increases for 2008 - 2011 per year, not the average, but the exact figure?
See table below for 2008 proposals - 7.81-11.75%!!. Southeastern call it fare increases, but in our view these are tantamount to theft. Our mate Purple Mike at Southeastern completely ignored my question on fares. We know it will be "an average of inflation plus 3%", however 11.75% for some stations is currently under that neat little umbrella! We believe Southeastern to be 'abusing its position of dominance', which is strictly prohibited under the Competition Act 1988 (the Chapter II, Prohibition).
Kent is desperately trying to attract more London workers - how will it do this with overcrowded trains, year on year double figure price rises and an ever slower commute?
Mike Gibson, (aka Purple Mike) Southeastern's Public Affairs Manager, emailed me on 9 November and said Southeastern do not want "misleading information being circulated amongst out passengers" (sic), but then proceeded to provide me with information which I very much believe to be misleading, and refused to answer some questions. See italicised information above for the main points in his e-mail. Also I am quite concerned that the information was "for 2009" - which does seem something of a play on words, is it only for December 09, will even this paltry service be phased out beyond that date?
Purple Mike finished his letter with the statement "I quite understand your wish for improved rail services and this is a goal we both share, however, I am sure you would want rail users to have the facts." I most certainly do want passengers to have the facts, and when he provides the answers to the questions I asked, rather than the answers he deigns to give, I will circulate them instantly. Our team will keep on asking until we get the answers.
We need your help - sign the petition, write to Southeastern and to your MP.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT, FUNDED BY PUBLIC SUBSIDIES.
THE INFORMATION SHOULD BE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN
Just in case you are dithering over whether it is worth making the effort, you should be aware that from December 2009 you will very likely need a travelcard to get from Stratford / St Pancras to your destination. If price hikes are similar to 2008's increase (and prior years' hikes do suggest a pattern of ever increasing rises) the true rise from a "London Terminals season ticket" to a Travelcard will be 26%. The proposed addition, we understand, for the Gravesend to St Pancras leg of the journey is 30%.