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“Please help me persuade Gatwick Express to admit that they are now a brand, and not a company” – Glynn Magheramorne

Description

Glynn Magheramorne

The Gatwick Express franchise was abolished around 3 years ago, and absorbed into the Southern franchise.

These services are now a brand name only, not a separate company. This is no different to the Stansted Express which is operated by NXEA.

However conductors working trains on the Gatwick Express route refuse to honour tickets routed Southern Only, claiming that they are not operated by Southern!

If you are a tourist and do not know better, you are charged around £5.

If, however, you produce a copy of the new Southern route map, clearly showing the service as part of Southern, the Conditions of Carriage (the new edition Appendix C no longer shows Gatwick Express as a separate company as it was abolished), and a printout from the Gatwick Express website stating they are "operated by Southern", they let you off.

So basically, it's a trap to catch out tourists who don't know how to argue their case and don't understand that the train is Southern.

Problem History

  • 1 Glynn Magheramorne reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 12:20 31 Aug 2011
  • 2 Glynn Magheramorne wrote to Gatwick Express close 12:20 31 Aug 2011

    Here is the letter that Glynn Magheramorne wrote.

    Gatwick Express is not a company any more

    Since 2008 Gatwick Express was absorbed into the Southern franchise, trains are now "operated by Southern". In other words, Gatwick Express is now just a brand name (like Stansted Express is a brand name; trains are operated by NXEA), see this video regarding the handover: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FJP8QgNbZ4 and also see the Southern Route Map: http://www.southernrailway.com/images/network_map_20110225.pdf (it's the route shown in red). Also Gatwick Express has been removed from the list of Train Companies in Appendix C of the National Rail Conditions of Carriage.

    The problem is that Southern are refusing to honour tickets routed "Southern Only" on these trains.

    If you show them the map, the conditions of carriage, and argue your case, they "let you off"! But tourists are charged an excess of around 5 pounds because they do not know how to argue their case.

    This is unacceptable, and must be stopped.

    Some staff on board these trains have tried to deny that Southern operate the website (despite the Gatwick Express website saying "Gatwick Express is operated by Southern" on the front page!! They have also denied that the National Rail Conditions of Carriage applies to journeys on that route!

  • 3 Gatwick Express Customer Services responded to Glynn Magheramorne close 12:26 31 Aug 2011
    Dear Sir/Madam,
    We have received your query with reference number
    [1777-1314789988].

    Thank you for your enquiry, we appreciate you taking the time to
    contact us. We aim to respond in full to your enquiry within 5
    working days.
    You can also contact us by phone (08451 27 29 20), fax (08451 27
    29 30) or in writing (Gatwick Express Customer Services, PO Box
    3021, Bristol, BS2 2BS).

    Kind Regards,
    Gatwick Express Customer Services

    Gatwick Express is operated by Southern. Southern is the trading
    name of Southern Railway Ltd. Registered in England under
    number: 06574965 Registered office: 3rd Floor, 41-51 Grey
    Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6EE.

    Reminder of your message

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Dear Gatwick Express,

    The problem report below has been sent to you via the website
    FixMyTransport.com.

    It refers to a problem on the train route between Gatwick
    Airport
    and London Victoria

    -----------------

    From: Glynn Magheramorne,
    <[Admit that they are now a brand, and not a company email]>

    Subject: Gatwick Express is not a company any more

    Details:

    Since 2008 Gatwick Express was absorbed into the Southern
    franchise, trains are now "operated by Southern". In other
    words,
    Gatwick Express is now just a brand name (like Stansted Express
    is
    a brand name; trains are operated by NXEA), see this video
    regarding the handover:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FJP8QgNbZ4
    and also see the Southern Route Map:
    http://www.southernrailway.com/images/ne...
    (it's the route shown in red). Also Gatwick Express has been
    removed from the list of Train Companies in Appendix C of the
    National Rail Conditions of Carriage.

    The problem is that Southern are refusing to honour tickets
    routed
    "Southern Only" on these trains.

    If you show them the map, the conditions of carriage, and argue
    your case, they "let you off"! But tourists are charged an
    excess
    of around 5 pounds because they do not know how to argue their
    case.

    This is unacceptable, and must be stopped.

    Some staff on board these trains have tried to deny that
    Southern
    operate the website (despite the Gatwick Express website saying
    "Gatwick Express is operated by Southern" on the front page!!
    They
    have also denied that the National Rail Conditions of Carriage
    applies to journeys on that route!

    ------------------

    THE FOLLOWING DETAILS ARE INCLUDED BY FIXMYTRANSPORT TO HELP YOU
    MANAGE THIS PROBLEM

    Location name: Train route between Gatwick Airport and London
    Victoria

    ----------

    ABOUT THIS PROBLEM REPORT

    Sender: [Admit that they are now a brand, and not a company email]

    PLEASE NOTE: Your replies to this problem report WILL BE
    PUBLISHED
    ONLINE

    To view a map of the precise location of this issue, or to
    provide
    an update on the problem, please visit the following link:

    http://www.fixmytransport.com/campaigns/...

    Thanks,

    FixMyTransport

    [ This message was sent via FixMyTransport.com - a
    not-for-profit
    service dedicated to helping people get public transport
    problems
    resolved. If there is a more appropriate email address for
    messages
    about this type of problem, please let us know by visiting
    . This will help improve
    the service for people travelling. We also welcome any other
    feedback you may have. ]

    _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    This e-mail message has been scanned and cleared by NetIQ
    MailMarshal.

    Southern Railway Ltd is registered in England No. 06574965.
    Registered office: 3rd Floor, 41-51 Grey Street, Newcastle Upon
    Tyne, NE1 6EE

    This email is sent subject to our email disclaimer which can be
    accessed here http://www.southernrailway.com/emaildisc...

    Southern is the trading name of Southern Railway Ltd. Registered
    in England under number: 06574965 Registered offices: 3rd Floor,
    41-51 Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6EE.

    This email is sent subject to our email disclaimer which can be
    accessed at: [1]www.southernrailway.com/emaildisclaimer

    References

    Visible links
    1. file:///tmp/www.southernrailway.com/emaildisclaimer
  • 4 Myf Nixon commented close 13:40 31 Aug 2011

    Hi Glynn,
    This is very interesting - I'm glad that issues like this are getting an airing and I hope you find a satisfactory conclusion.

    anorak
    admin
  • 5 Shaun McDonald commented close 13:48 31 Aug 2011

    Interestingly their initial confirmation email also confirms that the Gatwick Express is operated by Southern.

    anorak
  • 6 Gatwick Express Customer Services responded to Glynn Magheramorne close 16:55 31 Aug 2011
    Dear Sir/Madam,

    Thank you for contacting us.

    While it is true that Gatwick Express is managed and operated by
    Southern, tickets restricted to 'Southern only' services are not
    valid for Gatwick Express services.

    If you need any additional information regarding this request,
    please answer to this email, keeping its reference
    [1777-1314789988] within the subject bar.

    Kind Regards,
    Gatwick Express Customer Services

    Your message :

    Dear Gatwick Express,

    The problem report below has been sent to you via the website
    FixMyTransport.com.

    It refers to a problem on the train route between Gatwick
    Airport
    and London Victoria

    -----------------

    From: Glynn Magheramorne,
    <[Admit that they are now a brand, and not a company email]>

    Subject: Gatwick Express is not a company any more

    Details:

    Since 2008 Gatwick Express was absorbed into the Southern
    franchise, trains are now "operated by Southern". In other
    words,
    Gatwick Express is now just a brand name (like Stansted Express
    is
    a brand name; trains are operated by NXEA), see this video
    regarding the handover:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FJP8QgNbZ4
    and also see the Southern Route Map:
    http://www.southernrailway.com/images/ne...
    (it's the route shown in red). Also Gatwick Express has been
    removed from the list of Train Companies in Appendix C of the
    National Rail Conditions of Carriage.

    The problem is that Southern are refusing to honour tickets
    routed
    "Southern Only" on these trains.

    If you show them the map, the conditions of carriage, and argue
    your case, they "let you off"! But tourists are charged an
    excess
    of around 5 pounds because they do not know how to argue their
    case.

    This is unacceptable, and must be stopped.

    Some staff on board these trains have tried to deny that
    Southern
    operate the website (despite the Gatwick Express website saying
    "Gatwick Express is operated by Southern" on the front page!!
    They
    have also denied that the National Rail Conditions of Carriage
    applies to journeys on that route!

    ------------------

    THE FOLLOWING DETAILS ARE INCLUDED BY FIXMYTRANSPORT TO HELP YOU
    MANAGE THIS PROBLEM

    Location name: Train route between Gatwick Airport and London
    Victoria

    ----------

    ABOUT THIS PROBLEM REPORT

    Sender: [Admit that they are now a brand, and not a company email]

    PLEASE NOTE: Your replies to this problem report WILL BE
    PUBLISHED
    ONLINE

    To view a map of the precise location of this issue, or to
    provide
    an update on the problem, please visit the following link:

    http://www.fixmytransport.com/campaigns/...

    Thanks,

    FixMyTransport

    [ This message was sent via FixMyTransport.com - a
    not-for-profit
    service dedicated to helping people get public transport
    problems
    resolved. If there is a more appropriate email address for
    messages
    about this type of problem, please let us know by visiting
    . This will help improve
    the service for people travelling. We also welcome any other
    feedback you may have. ]

    _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    This e-mail message has been scanned and cleared by NetIQ
    MailMarshal.

    Southern Railway Ltd is registered in England No. 06574965.
    Registered office: 3rd Floor, 41-51 Grey Street, Newcastle Upon
    Tyne, NE1 6EE

    This email is sent subject to our email disclaimer which can be
    accessed here http://www.southernrailway.com/emaildisc...
  • 7 James Wharton commented close 16:59 31 Aug 2011

    In my personal opinion, the ageing Gatwick Express trains should be replaced by more "vanilla flavour" Southern-liveried services, calling at Clapham Junction, East Croydon, Redhill and Gatwick Airport only. These trains have a short life expectancy due to their old motors and it is only a matter of time before it is too inefficient to run a separate service.

    If Redhill and other stations were remodelled, streamlining could take place, with four tracks continuously to Gatwick. This would not be at an adverse cost and would result in a viable option to return the Quarry Line to nature. Let us not forget that it runs through a nature reserve! It would mean a simpler "fast line" to Gatwick Airport and possibly beyond.

  • 8 Jonathan Morton commented close 17:30 31 Aug 2011

    This is part of a wider problem where ticketing rules are far too complex to be understood by the general public. Gatwick Express appear to use the logic whereby they provide a premium-level service (in the form of a faster journey time between two specific points - at least that's what they advertise heavily) and should therefore be allowed to charge a premium price for it.

    The logic falls down badly when comaring Gatwick Express's timetable with the nearest equivalent Southern service. The 16:45 Gatwick Express ex Victoria takes 30 min to reach Gatwick at 17:15. The 16:47 Southern ex Victoria takes 32 min to reach Gatwick at 17:19, and is more than £5 - almost a third - cheaper.

    The extra two minutes taken by the Southern service are entirely accounted for by the two stops it makes en route (at Clapham Jn. and East Croydon) suggesting that the Gatwick Express doesn't actually reach any higher speeds than the more ordinary service. And, frankly, if a traveller is cutting their time so finely that the four minutes between the arrival times makes a difference at airport check-in, they deserve any difficulties they experience.

    The specific problem here is the traveller confusion, especially since Gatwick Express customers are substantially more likely than others to be from elsewhere, or even infrequent rail users in general. And since the Gatwick Express service really does appear prominently on the Southern map - listed separately from, say, the Hastings service which the 16:47 is part of - it does appear that significant confusion could result, and an unsympathetic observer (never mind an aggrieved traveller) might conclude that this is deliberate exploitation.

    A nearly 50% premium is essentially equivalent to a First Class ticket. Perhaps if the Gatwick Express were explicitly made a First Class Only train, the premium would be justified and the rationale made obvious to innocent passengers. But the justification would only be perceived if the service on board were raised to levels expected by First Class travellers on a half-hour journey - including at minimum a full table with laptop power at each seat, complimentary refreshments and free Internet access.

  • 9 Clive Andrews commented close 17:50 31 Aug 2011

    Additional confusion arises when you consider that the red 'Express' trains are often used for advertised Southern services between Brighton and Victoria. (This is why the livery changed from 'Gatwick Express' to just 'Express'). So there are three types of service: Green liveried trains linking London and the coast, Gatwick Express services between the airport and Victoria, and trains which are doing the job of the former while dressed as the latter! No wonder there's confusion!

    Particularly unpleasant is the point made in Glynn's initial overview - that being that some ticket inspectors are fully aware of the justification for using a 'Southern only' ticket, but hope you won't notice when they demand you pay to upgrade your ticket.

    And the response offered to Glynn in #6 is a laughably common example of a response from a rail company: "You asked why x is so. Yes, we can can confirm that x is so". Genius.

  • 10 Glynn Magheramorne commented close 01:02 01 Sep 2011

    An interesting response from a Southern employee, under one of their brand names, who basically admits his company is breaking the law!

    Southern are dis-regarding the National Rail Conditions of Carriage. The Southern Only tickets are restricted under Condition 10, to those of a "company". Appendix A defines "company" as those listed in Appendix C.

    Look in an old copy, and you'll see Gatwick Express and Southern were separate companies. Now, it's just Southern operating these services, so Gatwick Express is not listed.

    Under the Conditions of Carriage, these tickets ARE valid on all Southern operated trains, including on the Gatwick Express route (a route shown on Southern's own map!).

    As I said before, if you show the Conditions of Carriage, the map, etc, then you tend to be "let off". So, anyone who wants to pay the correct price - not the false over-inflated price - needs to bring copies of all the relevant documentation.

    http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/system/galleries/download/misc/NRCOC.pdf
    Condition 10, Appendix A and Appendix C are the relevant parts

  • 11 Glynn Magheramorne asked for advice. close 01:03 01 Sep 2011

    Do you have any media contacts? This issue needs to be resolved as the reply from Southern is totally and utterly unacceptable. I think we could do with getting a TV crew down when some people try it. I know people who are willing to give it a go.

  • 12 James Wharton commented close 01:45 01 Sep 2011

    The BBC helped publicise FixMyTransport on launch, so they may want to show an example of how it works. I suggest you contact them for any publicity you may want, although don't phrase it like that!

  • 13 Myf Nixon advised Glynn to write to Paul Seigert. close 09:45 01 Sep 2011

    Hi Glynn,

    This is the email address for the transport contact I have at BBC South Today. I've written some suggested text but feel free to edit it or overwrite it.

    Good luck!

    Myf Nixon

    anorak
    admin
  • 14 Myf Nixon advised Glynn to write to Kirk Ward. close 09:47 01 Sep 2011

    Hi Glynn,

    The Crawley Observer might be interested too.
    Good luck!

    Myf Nixon

    anorak
    admin
  • 15 Chris Smith commented close 19:48 01 Sep 2011

    editorial@platform5.com is the email address of Today's Railways magazine, which has a monthly 'That's The Ticket' column, which would be very interested, I think, in this issue.

    anorak
  • 16 Dave H commented close 02:59 02 Sep 2011

    Interesting - I suspect this may come up at a Southern Stakeholder session next week. Have you taken this up with Passenger Focus if the response to your direct complaint was not satisfactory.

    In passing interest if anyone has been excessed, did they get a receipt and reissued ticket, which I believe is the required protocol. On buses for example it is worth reading your ticket if you pay on a change-giving service especially - I have been sold a child fare ticket and charged for an adult fare, the driver probably made a mental note for this and other mis-sold fares to reconcile the day's takings with the ticket machine, and 'eliminate' the discrepancy.

  • 17 Myf Nixon advised Glynn to write to Passenger Focus. close 09:42 02 Sep 2011

    Hi Glynn,

    In case you'd like to take up Dave H's suggestion, here's the email address for Passenger Focus.
    Good luck!

    Myf Nixon

    anorak
    admin
  • 18 Myf Nixon advised Glynn to write to Paul Abell. close 10:28 05 Sep 2011

    Good morning Glynn,

    We had a message from the Editor of Today's Railways UK who says "Many thanks for this – the easiest way of approaching it would be for Glynn to contact me himself, either as a letter to the editor or with a press release."

    So the door is certainly open if you'd like to pursue that.

    Myf Nixon

    anorak
    admin
  • 19 Glynn Magheramorne wrote to Paul Abell following Myf Nixon's advice. close 17:50 06 Sep 2011

    Hi Paul,

    Regarding Southern not accepting Southern Only tickets for the Gatwick Express, please contact: Tom Ormiston email: tormiston1991@gmail.com or let me know your email address (sorry I just have a form to fill in, not an actual address) and I will ask him to contact you, he traveled on the service a few weeks ago, was charged, but has now been refunded! See http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=48883 - a copy of the letter he received offering him vouchers is attached in post #49 and makes for interesting reading!

    Condition 10 allows tickets to be restricted by geographical route or by train company, Appendix A defines train company as one listed in Appendix C.

    Prior to 2008, Gatwick Express was a company, it appears Southern do not acknowledge that fact.

    There are some knowledgeable people at Railforums.co.uk who may be able to assist further - I would recommend you sign up.

    Kind regards,
    Glynn

  • 20 Editorial responded to Glynn Magheramorne close 08:10 07 Sep 2011
    Hello Glynn,

    I am on [email address]

    Regards,

    Paul

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Glynn Magheramorne [mailto:[Admit that they are now a brand, and not a company email]]
    Sent: 06 September 2011 17:51
    To: Editorial
    Subject: Gatwick Express operated by Southern

    Hi Paul,

    Regarding Southern not accepting Southern Only tickets for the Gatwick Express, please contact: Tom Ormiston email: [email address] or let me know your email address (sorry I just have a form to fill in, not an actual address) and I will ask him to contact you, he traveled on the service a few weeks ago, was charged, but has now been refunded! See http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.p... - a copy of the letter he received offering him vouchers is attached in post #49 and makes for interesting reading!

    Condition 10 allows tickets to be restricted by geographical route or by train company, Appendix A defines train company as one listed in Appendix C.

    Prior to 2008, Gatwick Express was a company, it appears Southern do not acknowledge that fact.

    There are some knowledgeable people at Railforums.co.uk who may be able to assist further - I would recommend you sign up.

    Kind regards,
    Glynn

    [ IMPORTANT: ANY REPLY YOU SEND TO THIS MESSAGE WILL BE PUBLISHED ONLINE. This message was sent via FixMyTransport.com - a not-for-profit service dedicated to helping people get public transport problems resolved. To give feedback on FixMyTransport, please visit <http://www.fixmytransport.com/feedback>. ]
  • 21 Chris Smith advised Glynn to write to Paul Abell at 'Today's Railways'. close 19:06 07 Sep 2011

    Hi Glynn,

    I've got some advice for you. I put the issue to Paul Abell - the editor of 'Today's Railway' in which there are columns on ticketing and general matters. He suggests you contact him.

    Good luck!

    Chris Smith

    anorak
  • 22 Myf Nixon commented close 16:49 29 Sep 2011

    I've just spotted that there's a MASSIVE thread discussing this page on: http://www.freak-search.com/en/thread/5603303/gatwick_and_southern_only_on_fixmytransport.

    anorak
    admin
  • 23 Glynn Magheramorne commented close 22:42 29 Sep 2011

    I am hopeful that Todays Railways will mention this in the next issue.

    Yes, I've seen that link, it's the uk.railway newsgroup, also available via Google Groups and using a Newsreader, it used to be the leading place for fares to be discussed, but that is now Railforums' Fares & Ticketing section, there is a thread about it here: http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=52896

    Southern have got ATOC to submit a request to the DfT to change the NRCoC (see http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=52268&page=3 ) in the belief that this will make the Gatwick Express be considered a 'Company' as defined in Appendix A of the NRCoC. This is flawed but they are pressing ahead anyway. The DfT is required by law to consider such changes and theoretically should be looking after customer interests. In reality they just approve all the draconian measures ATOC throw at them. An FOI request to the DfT may give some answers but I doubt we'll get anywhere.

    Anyone know an MP who will help us?

  • 24 Glynn Magheramorne wrote to Paul Seigert following Myf Nixon's advice. close 22:44 29 Sep 2011

    Dear Paul,
    You may be interested in a pricing anomaly I have uncovered on the Gatwick Express line. Gatwick Express is (since 2008) run by Southern Trains, but tickets marked 'Southern Only' are not being honoured.

    Those who are in the know can argue their case by showing the National Rail conditions of carriage and map - but how many travellers are sufficiently informed to do this? Others end up paying a surcharge of £5, quite wrongly.

    I have set up a page on the website FixMyTransport.com where my correspondence with Southern - and support from other passengers - can be seen: http://www.fixmytransport.com/campaigns/admit-that-they-are-now-a-brand-and-not-a-company and there is also a discussion at http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=52896

    If you would be interested in covering this story, I am sure I can get a bunch of us to travel this route and demonstrate the issue. Please let me know if you would like any more information.

  • 25 Myf Nixon commented close 09:28 30 Sep 2011

    This is all very interesting! As for MPs, I wonder if this might be more a matter for a local councillor? Their remit usually covers public transport. You can contact your through WriteToThem.com.

    anorak
    admin
  • 26 Glynn Magheramorne commented close 23:51 30 Sep 2011

    I agree. Is anyone here who supports our position local to the area? Given that this affects trains, not just from Gatwick to London but the whole line from Brighton to London (at peak hours trains run jointly as Gatwick and Brighton Express) so any councilors or MPs anywhere between London and Brighton could be contacted.

  • 27 Myf Nixon commented close 09:16 03 Oct 2011

    Well, Glyn, I believe you'll have most luck with the councillor local to your own constituency - especially as he/she will be aware that you have the vote which will decide their future in the position! Not to mention that it's their duty to act on their own constituents' needs. If I were you, I'd put your postcode into WriteToThem and see who comes up. If there's more than one option, maybe a quick Google will tell you if any of them have a history in transport issue campaigning.

    anorak
    admin
  • 28 Peter Dixon commented close 21:38 03 Oct 2011

    I am more than happy to throw an FoI towards the DfT. What do you want it to say?

    anorak
    admin
  • 29 Peter Dixon commented close 18:49 16 Feb 2012

    Hello

    Sorry to bring this thread back up but I thought that many of you might find this thread interesting reading.

    http://railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=59921

    Kind regards

    FixMyTransport volunteer

    anorak
    admin
Comment
  • started 31 August 2011
  • supporters 26
Train route between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria operated by Southern, Gatwick Express
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