‘Are they having a laugh?’: Eastbourne MP hits out at Southern Rail fare rise

Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd at Eastbourne Railway Station
Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd at Eastbourne Railway Station

The Eastbourne MP has attacked the decision to raise fares by an average of 3.4 per cent, the biggest increase in five years.

For commuters in the town, this could see the cost of their 12-month season ticket rise by as much as £184.

The Southern franchise has been plagued by strikes for the last 24 months as the company looks to alter the role previously undertaken by guards to On-Board Supervisors, although a deal was recently struck between the company and ASLEF, the Union for train drivers.

Despite the dispute between the drivers’ union and the company coming to an end, users of Southern rail still experience delayed and cancelled trains as part of the normal service.

Stephen Lloyd MP has accused the company of a dereliction of their duties and has announced that he does not believe they deserve a fare increase form hard pressed commuters.

He said, “Regardless of whether drivers or guards were striking, the regular service provided by Southern Rail has been shockingly poor over the last 24 months.

“Yet, once again, they’re being allowed to hike up their prices. This is not only wrong on a basis of poor performance but it’s a cruel trick on us long-suffering commuters. To misquote the comedian Ricky Gervais, ‘are they having a laugh?’

“Commuters from Eastbourne and Willingdon are already paying extortionate prices to get to and from work, and for what? A slow service which is often delayed, not enough staff and all leavened with trains that often don’t turn up – and all this at only a moment’s notice.

“Frankly, Southern Rail should be charged with a dereliction of duty rather than being allowed to charge even more for their fares.

“I have written to the Prime Minister demanding she cap next year’s rail fare increase for Southern Rail as, bluntly, they do not deserve it!”