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MP remains "fully committed" to Zone 6 for Epsom campaign
MP Chris Grayling has pledged his continued commitment to get Epsom into Zone 6, saying he has set the wheels in motion for ‘a battle he wants Epsom to win’.
In July, Southern rail company, which has the franchise to run services through Epsom, said it was "willing to work towards" getting the station into a London travel zone.
The concession followed the Epsom Guardian’s hugely popular Zone 6 for Epsom campaign, which highlighted that a move to allow people to use Oyster cards at the station would make travel from the station to London easier and cheaper, and encourage more Londoners to travel out to Epsom, providing a welcome boost to its struggling shopping centre.
A number of stations which are further out from central London, such Epsom Downs, Tattenham Corner and Tadworth stations are also already in Zone 6.
With hundred of signatures still coming in for this newspaper’s online petition for the change, Mr Grayling said this week he remains "fully committed" to the campaign and has written to Transport Minister Stephen Hammond for the "green light" to start discussions.
Speaking to the Epsom Guardian on Tuesday, he said: "I have put in a formal request to Stephen Hammond.
"In order for discussions to happen between Southern, South West Trains and myself, the Zone 6 issue needs permission from the Department of Transport as Southern has said they were fine to work towards it but didn’t want to lose out financially as a result.
"The problem for Southern with moving Epsom into Zone 6 is they would lose the Southern-only tickets that you can buy at the station.
"I’m waiting for a response now but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem."
Mr Grayling said ministerial changes and the Government’s West Coast mainline franchise fiasco had resulted in a slight "hiatus" but reassured residents he is doing all he can.
He said: "Southern said it was by no means impossible to do it.
"One option is to get Zone 6 written into the new franchise agreement but the franchising process has now been delayed so my aim is to get permission to make the change beforehand.
"I’m fully committed to this - it’s a battle I want us to win."