SEVENOAKS RAIL TRAVELLERS ASSOCIATION
Minutes of Annual General Meeting
Wednesday October 9th 2013 at 8PM
Chairman: Tony Clayton
Apologies: Mike Smith (Network Rail), Andrew Stott, Brian Houghton, Michael Fallon
1. Chairman’s Report
The Chairman started by paying tribute to Colin Miles, SRTA’s webmaster, who had died in December 2012.
He reported that it had been another busy year. Issues that had arisen during the year had included re-franchising of both Southern/Thameslink and SER together with the Mayor proposing that TfL take over the management of the Metro part of the current SER franchise. During the year there had been productive meetings with KCC, TfL and NWR with SER about London Bridge. SRTA had made strong representations on the extension of the SER franchise.
Roger Johnson then gave a brief overview of the future outlook emphasising the dramatic changes in journey opportunities post 2018 when Thameslink and Crossrail are scheduled to be completed.
The Chairman then outlined SRTA’s agenda for the coming year. This included improved information, flexible smart ticketing, “part-time” season tickets and, locally, a second ticket machine on the Kippington side. He reported that SER was unable to accept the offer of an “information pod” supplied by the Town Council since it included advertisements which would have put SER in breach of their contract with their advertising management company.
2. SER Report
Sarah Boundy reported that SER had just achieved the highest 12 month PPM performance at 91.9% and reached 95.5% for the past 4 weeks. This was due to several changes – improved performance by NWR, an SER focus on “right time starts” for trains and improved maintenance procedures.On winter preparedness additional conductor rail heating had been installed and NWR rail treatment trains are in place. SER would also ensure contingency timetables were in place to give passengers a realistic idea of levels of service. Additional steps were being taken to improve customer communications during periods of disruption.
She noted the station improvements at both Sevenoaks and Swanley.
On fares she told the meeting that the fare rises for 2014 had been set by the government at RPI+1% (4.3%) and that the flexibility was limited to +/- 2% instead of 5%.
Questions from the floor concerned the lack of response from SER about the faulty Bat & Ball CIS display, fare increases at Sevenoaks, auditing of “average fare rises” including how the average was calculated, and lastly a query about a ticket machine stopping while printing a set of tickets and a comment on the need for improved information at Waterloo East during the LB rebuilding and the poor state already of signage at LB.
Linda McCord spoke about recent work by PF. She highlighted a recent PF study on passengers’ ambitions for smart ticketing. They wanted value for money, convenience, simplicity, security and flexibility.She then described the Ticket to Ride project which was highlighting perceived unfairnesses in the current penalty fare regimes operated by TOCs. Research indicated that passengers felt that TOCs failed to distinguish adequately between genuine mistakes and intent to defraud. Different TOCs also adopted different approaches to the same situation and differences existed amongst staff of the same TOC.
She concluded by saying that PF was making all its data on appeals public to encourage greater passenger engagement.
A Panel formed of the speakers and other representatives present.There was an exchange of views concerning the Mayor’s approach regarding SER Metro services. There was general support for the SRTA position although a representative from Tonbridge said they remained opposed since they felt they would get no benefit and risked interventions by TfL leading to a deterioration in mainline services. The Chairman re-iterated SRTA’s view that TfL offered Zone 8 fare (cheaper than now) and typically smaller fare rises, reduced fare evasion, fare box risk transferred from TOC to TfL and extra convenience from Oyster acceptance locally.Chris Fribbins, Rail Future confirmed he had had similar responses to SRTA from TfL.
There was a discussion of local bus services. It was noted that in some cases Dial-a-Ride would be cheaper for KCC to provide rather than subsidies to bus operators.
5. Formal Business
The Minutes of the 2012 AGM were approved.
The 2012 Annual Report, circulated in advance to members, together with the 2012 Annual Accounts were approved.
Tony Clayton was unanimously re-elected as Chairman. The other members of the committee (Ms Canet, Cllr Parry, Messrs Dolby-Gray, Houghton, Johnson, Ryan and Stott) were re-elected en bloc.
The meeting concluded at 9.55PM
Vice Chairman (and acting Secretary in the absence of Andrew Stott)
Sevenoaks Rail Travellers Association