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MP wants smart rail ticketing throughout Dartford and Gravesham

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 May 2019

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson.

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson.

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All stations in Dartford and Gravesham need to be converted for smart ticketing use, says Dartford MP Gareth Johnson.

Gareth Johnson MP and Cllr Jeremy Kite at Dartford Station. Picture: Network RailGareth Johnson MP and Cllr Jeremy Kite at Dartford Station. Picture: Network Rail

This comes after the success of Oyster which was extended to Dartford in September 2015.

With a dramatic upturn in passengers using Dartford station, he said this scheme would boost efficiency.

Four years ago, there were just under 3.4 million journeys, which rose to 4.1 million in 2017/18.

Mr Johnson told us: “There are a number of stations in the constituency: Dartford, Longfield, Greenhithe, Farningham Road, Stone Crossing and Ebbsfleet.

“My request for smart ticketing to be extended would also apply to the stations in Gravesham.”

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He added: “Now we need to see this go further and have either Oyster or some form of smart ticketing extended to all the other Dartford stations as part of the new franchise.”

The issue arose in parliament during an urgent question to the rail minister following the government announcement of a delay in the bidding process for the next local rail franchise.

Mr Johnson said: “These delays are regrettable, but they at least give the minister an opportunity to look again at the terms of the franchise.

“I was pleased when the Oyster card system was extended to Dartford, to cater for my constituents. Does he agree that any new franchise contract should include a term to ensure that smart ticketing is extended beyond the current boundaries?”

In response, minister Andrew Jones said: “Smart ticketing is a part of the rail future right across the country, not just in Dartford. The pay-as-you-go extension has been very popular across the south-east. The benefits of smart ticketing are profound, including convenience for passengers and the ability to change tickets more easily, and we are trying to ensure that they are part of all franchises.”

Following the parliamentary question, Mr Johnson added: “Local people have been waiting a long time for the roll out of smart ticketing. The Oyster Card system has been increasingly popular since it was introduced at Dartford train station three and a half years ago.

“We need now for smart ticketing to be available across the whole area.”

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