Consumer Lookout has previously highlighted Southern Rail‘s unfair practice of failing to provide ticket machines at stations such as Bishopstone, which forces passengers to board without a ticket and places them at risk of (illegal) penalty fares from overzealous revenue protection officers.
Last month Southern entered into the new GTR franchise. Their Main Line & Coastways Factsheet outlined some key improvements under the new franchise, including new ticket machines at stations such Newhaven Harbour & Southease. Conspicuous by its absence on the list of stations was Bishopstone. This was surprising, as not only had a ticket machine been requested at that station by Transport Focus (on my behalf) but the footfall & catchment area at Bishopstone are far greater than that of Southease.
Southern has now confirmed that, under the terms of its new franchise, it is committed to providing ticket machines at all stations on that line, including Bishopstone. They should be in place no later than the end of Q3 2016. It is not clear why this information was omitted from the factsheet, nor whether a second machine will be installed in each station to give passengers a reasonable chance of buying a ticket if the first machine is out of service.
I have also asked Southern what their procedures are for logging when ticket machines are not working and making that information available to their staff and to the public, to help prevent passengers from being issued with unjust penalty fares. At present I am waiting for answers to those questions.