Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd has called on Southern Rail to extend its Unizone card scheme as far as Eastbourne to make it cheaper for students living in the town to attend university in Brighton.
The politician said currently purchasing a Unizone ticket allows students unlimited travel in either the Brighton or Worthing areas.
However, while the zones extend as far as Chichester in the west, they only extend as far as Falmer to the east.
Mr Lloyd said this was problematic for many students who commute from Eastbourne to Brighton for university.
He has met with Paul Cooke from the Brighton Students’ Union to discuss the issue and taken the concerns to the managing director of Southern, Chris Burchell.
Mr Lloyd said, “The Unizone is an excellent concept but it has never made sense that it does not reach as far as Eastbourne.
“With our growing town, thriving job prospects, picturesque seafront and quality of life, our town is a great place to live while studying, but this fare anomaly leaves local students at a financial disadvantage.
“I am very happy to join with the Brighton Students’ Union in calling for the Unizone’s extension and I have been lobbying Southern Rail for some time now.
“They are sympathetic to the idea, and I hope that by working together we will be able to find a way around this problem.
“Watch this space.”
Paul Cooke, vice president, Campus & Communications at Brighton Students’ Union added, “It’s fantastic that we have gained the support of our local MP on this campaign – especially as it’s an issue that many of our Eastbourne students feel very strongly about.
“Having convenient and affordable transport links for all of our students travelling to Brighton is essential, and I will not stop campaigning until we fully achieve this.”
In response a spokesperson for Southern said, “The good news is that work to make this happen is well underway and we hope to extend the Unizone scheme to Eastbourne in the spring.”
Unizone is a unique Season ticket exclusively available for students in the Brighton or Worthing areas.
The Unizone give unlimited travel to a number of stations including Moulsecoomb, London Road, Falmer and Lancing. To find out more go the link: http://www.southernrailway.com/tickets-and-fares/ticket-types/16/
Mr Lloyd has also been campaigning for a fast train between Eastbourne to London.
Earlier this month the Herald published an article about the campaign. The politician said he had been in constant contact with ministers at the Department of Transport pushing the case for a faster train and recently gained a significant concession making the goal more achievable.
Lobbying for the fast train has been going on for 18 months since the new franchise was first announced and in that time the MP has met with ministers as well as the individual train companies shortlisted for the franchise.
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