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Southern Railways - concealing stations covered by Oyster card

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Hi, I just found out that for the past year I have been sold a rail pass for my student son to make a journey only two stations longer than his Oyster card covered. More fool me, you might say, but I have asked Southern Railways on a number of occasions if there were any way to minimise the cost of the journey which has been a struggle for us to pay for, and on each occasion they have never mentioned the Oyster card as an option. Isn't there an official body I could complain to about their refusal to give an accurate and honest answer to the question ' What is the cheapest option for my son, aged 17 full-time student, to travel from Station A to Station B'. I am so angry at them I could just cry...


If anyone has any helpful information as to anybody I could complain to that might be able to help us even if all that happens is they have to change this dishonest policy of concealing cheaper fares which they currently use I would at least have the satisfaction of knowing they couldn't rip any one else off this way. OOOh! Feel better now that's off my chest!

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I worked for Southern until very recently and will try and give you best advice I can if you can help with a little more info


What stations are station A and B?

What Oyster card does your son have? (IE Payg, season ticket, discounted student, free student etc)

What ticket has he been sold that you believe to be incorrect?


If you can help with the further information I can try and advise you a little further about why you have been sold what ticket you have, as can some of the other users


If you would prefer to carry on your route of wanting to make a complaint I have put the details below for who to complain to

08451 27 29 20

Southern Customer Services, PO Box 3021 Bristol BS2 2BS


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Hi, thanks for replying, the stations are Coulsdon South to Reigate. He had a 16 plus free travel Zip Oystercard until term started in September and I didn't renew it because he travels outside London and I didn't know it applied out as far as Redhill. If its possible I guess I can ask them to issue another for this academic year for him and see if we can at least save some money for the rest of this year...

Have calmed down slightly since posting, sorry for the rant, was just really upset to discover that I had spent so much more than was necessary.

\thanks for your kind reply, from Jandy

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Hello again,


I think you've been misinformed about the zip card Im afraid. Just searching around for the guidelines on it now to copy over but, The Oyster Zip cards are only valid to Coulsdon South (on rail services) as this is where boundary zone 6 finishes, they are (confusingly) allowed to be used on the 405 bus service all the way into Redhill but not for train services. I believe it is allowed on that bus as it is a London bus that runs from West Croydon - Redhill.


This link shows the mapped area of where the card is valid and where the discounted fares from the Zip card are in effect http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/tickets/national-rail-map.pdf It shows that Coulsdon South is the last station in the area able to be used by Zip card and also shows that there is no discount on the fare at that station and as you will see it is not valid to Redhill.


And this one shows the T&Cs associated with the Zip card http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14308.aspx


Unfortunately, whoever told you the information that you can use the Zip card on the train to Redhill, has informed you incorrectly.


Having worked in the area concerned and at both of those stations my advice would be to get your son to get an application form for a Surrey Education discount card which is provided c/o the council and the form can be obtained at student services at the college. This will entitle you to 34% of a rail season ticket to cover your son from Coulsdon to Reigate. I cant check prices from here but I know its definitely worth the cost of the photo and admin fee for the application. Especially if you want to buy period tickets from term to term (these can only be from the points named on the card IE Couldson-Reigate) but would be ideal for your son and save you a third each period.


By all means check with Southern customer services as well but I dealt with this situation at a lot when working around the Redhill area and there is a lot of confusion that Southern are trying to resolve around Oyster products and their stations.


I hope I haven't made that too confusing and cleared things up a little for you.



Edited by markl1987
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Hi thank you very much for your kindness, bit depressed about the info, but its good to have reliable facts. Will speak to Surrey Council but I suspect as we live outside Surrey CC borders we will not be eligible for this. Oh well, he's only got another 6 months to go... Thanks again from Jandy

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Im pretty sure that its ok if you live outside the area as long as they are going to the college in that area.


I've had cases at Three Bridges which is in Sussex where students have the cards to travel to Reigate college so it may well be a way to save some cash


Hope that helps and if you have any more questions I'll do my best to find out for you, sorry the info wasn't as positive as you would have hoped



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