I recently wrote again to GTR to raise constituents' concerns regarding the recent changes to the rail service from Billingshurst to London Bridge.
I have now received a response from GTR – please find an extract of this response below. I will soon be meeting with GTR’s Head of Strategic Planning in order to discuss this issue further.
Response from GTR:
We can completely empathise with some of the views’ from your constituents. While we have worked to make the connection as straightforward as possible, people will always value and want a direct service over an indirect service as you will be well aware, regardless of how the connection is structured.
It is worth knowing that the reverse of this scenario currently applies to your constituents travelling to London Victoria – at the same time of day, their journey is indirect with a change at East Croydon. This change means their journeys will now be direct. Clearly though, a constituent that is switching from direct to indirect will be much more vocal than the reverse.
This is solely a demand-led change, but this is demand in terms of comparative numbers of people - we are not by any means suggesting there is not demand for London Bridge.
In an ideal scenario, we would have both a direct service to London Bridge and to London Victoria. In the current context, unfortunately we are having to be selective of how we use the resources available, and our approach, once we have prioritised essential services such as school trains, we are then seeking to benefit as many people as we possibly can, so as well as considering how to benefit as many people as possible, we have also considered how this change works within the wider timetable.
We are keeping our timetable under constant review and are more than willing to review this change with you. We are confident however that the change will be very popular with your Victoria constituents and re-creating an hourly gap in the otherwise half-hourly service will be far less popular given the relative numbers. We also know that regular, clockface departures play a very significant role in attracting people to use a service.