PRESS RELEASE – 7 August 2016
TRAVEL WITHOUT THE TRAIN SERVICE
Following the failure of talks between Southern Railway and the RMT at ACAS last week, what can rail passengers (rather, those who intended to be passengers) do to travel along the MarshLink.
MLAG asked Southern what would be available to passengers next week and they replied:
– with regard to providing a replacement bus service, “it would not be feasible to get sufficient temporary buses to cover the train service. However, we have left the Rye shuttle buses (that we are currently running) in place for next week.” MLAG does not know whether the number of buses for each service will be increased but is doubtful – see the schedule of buses at http://www.southernrailway.com/download/42451.5/00-strike-timetable-ashford-to-hastings-bus/ . The capacity of each replacement bus is small in relation to the usual number of train passengers and only some of the buses start in Rye so others may be full when they arrive so be cautious about relying on them;
– with regard to paying for buses, “Stagecoach southeast are not able to accept [rail season] tickets but they but they are aiming to provide some additional capacity where they can on service 2 which links Ashford with Hastings via Tenterden, and additional buses will operate between Polegate and Eastbourne.” This is unlikely to be of any use to MarshLink passengers;
– but Southern confirmed “passengers are able to claim strike compensation from us for the train ticket where a separate bus ticket must be bought. Full details on compensation are available at www.southernrailway.com/rmtstrike.”
This leaves the existing bus services from Rye:
– to Hastings Station, to catch the SouthEastern rail services to London. But beware, this service is likely to be working over-capacity; and
– to Ashford meaning a change at Lydd (not the most endearing of prospects).
Finally, the only other possibility appears to be to use a car so car-share if you can.
Let us remember that it is not only passengers using the service to get to London, it is also the holiday season and the railway is the route to Rye and surrounding areas for many holidaymakers. So this will also have a detrimental effect on the local economy of the whole area.
MarshLink Action Group