Hove MP Peter Kyle has pressed the government and train bosses to simplify fares and to cut premium pricing.
He made the call for fare cuts in the House of Commons today (Thursday 19 April) at transport questions.
Mr Kyle made his intervention as a follow up to an exchange of letters with Rail Minister Jo Johnson.
In his letter to the minister, Mr Kyle wrote: “There is one set of tracks and one franchise operator between London and Brighton, but there are three separate pricing structures.”
He cited a report by rail industry expert Chris Gibb who recommended bringing the prices into line at the level of the lowest – the fares charged on Thameslink trains – for a trial period of two years.
This was a response to long-running disruption resulting in part from the dispute between Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and two trade unions – the RMT and ASLEF.
Mr Kyle had previously told fellow MPs: “It would have a transformative impact on passengers who have suffered so much in the last few years.”
In his letter to the minister, the Labour MP quoted Mr Gibb: “With passenger volume having grown very significantly it is much harder to justify use of capacity to support a premium fare on this service, while simultaneously having overcrowding and dwell-time delay on other services as a result.”
Mr Kyle added: “The Secretary of State (Chris Grayling) responded to my question that ‘we are working our way through the recommendations of the Gibb report’.
”I welcome this and I hope that you will agree that lowering all ticket prices on Southern trains to Thameslink prices would be a small but highly positive step towards compensating passengers for the extremely poor service they have suffered over the last few years.”
Today Mr Kyle said: “I am grateful for the minister’s letter of this week saying that his department is taking on extra resource to simplify the fare structure on the Brighton main line.
“Will he reassure passengers in the area that that simplification will involve the rounding down of fares, not just rounding up?
“Will he also tell passengers when they can expect the review to complete?”
Mr Johnson said: “I can indeed confirm that the department has taken on additional resource specifically to address the anomalies within the Govia Thameslink Railway fare structure.
“As the honourable gentleman said, there will be a review in order to simplify the structure, with particular reference to complications on that route.
“We are working with GTR to achieve this as rapidly as we can.”