Southeastern today announced a freeze on super off peak fares for 2015 that will cut the cost of more than one million off peak journeys for passengers in Kent and East Sussex. The company is also making the special fares available on more routes, including Britain’s only high speed service, which runs from Kent into London.
The train operator also announced it will offer Advance fares for the first time in 2015 – allowing customers a discount by pre-booking off peak fares via the Southeastern website.
The news follows the Chancellor’s announcement that regulated rail fares for 2015 will increase by 2.5 percent. The overall average increase in regulated (season ticket) and unregulated (off peak) fares on the Southeastern network will be below inflation and limited to 2.2 percent.
The fares passengers pay help to fund a huge programme of investment, in addition to paying for the day-to-day running of the rail network. Southeastern has already announced that it will invest more than £70 million in improving its trains, stations and information provision over the next three years.
Planned improvements include:
· A new timetable delivering more Highspeed services, and new journey opportunities designed to help passengers during the three year rebuild of London Bridge station as part of the £6.5bn Thameslink Programme
· More than 95,000 extra seats on off-peak services, including 1,000 extra seats on Southeastern’s High Speed services every day and 2,000 extra seats in the afternoon peak from January 2015
· Up to 75 extra staff will be hired and deployed to gatelines at key stations
· 170 more customer service staff at key stations throughout each major timetable change to help passengers with information and provide advice on alternative travel options
· The opening hours of Cannon Street station will be extended so that staff are available between 04.30 and 01.30 and to accommodate services running into the station later in the day
· Train crew and station gateline staff will be given tablet devices to ensure better access to train service information (by 31 July 2015)
· 20 new information screens will be installed at key stations to enhance the way information is shared during disruption (by 1 April 2015)
· Investing a further £4.8 million in station improvements
· A deep clean of all stations (by 30 September 2015)
· Installing 63 more self service ticket machines at stations
Since October, Southeastern has offered a series of discounts to cut the cost of travel for its passengers. Its GroupSave fares offer a 34 per cent discount for passengers travelling in a group of three to nine compared with the price of individual adult tickets. Throughout December, the company is also running a Christmas sale with 25 per cent off the cost of many standard off-peak train tickets, including the high speed service, when tickets are bought online at www.southeasternrailway.co.uk.
David Statham, managing director of Southeastern, said: “We know that customers want more value for money and an improvement to their service – and we’re committed to providing just that. More than 250,000 people rely on our trains for their journeys every day and we’re investing fares directly in schemes that will make those journeys easier for our passengers. These include extra seats on some services, providing more staff to help passengers at stations and on trains, refreshing the look of our fleet of trains and improving stations right across our network.”