Wednesday 31 October 2012

The Mary Portas cheap daytrip tickets to Margate

On the 22nd of Oct I wrote to South Eastern enquiring about the cheap weekend £10 day return ticket that had been organised by Mary Portas and announced shortly before the Margate Relaunch event on Oct 20th.

Don't get me wrong. Nothing against reducing train fairs to Margate. They are seriously too high.

I asked Thanet Council and Visit Kent if they had been contacted regarding this offer and surprisingly they said no they hadn't.

The Portas Pilot scheme is all about empowering communities. Yet no one from the Margate Town Team, Thanet Council, Kent County Council knew about it. 

for Southeastern Customer Relations, PO Box 63428, London, SE1P 5FD
Tel: 0845 000 2222

Ref: 564156 / 371584
Thank you for your email dated 22 October.

 I'm sorry that our Mary Portas special offer discounted tickets to Margate don't include the option to stay overnight. As you offer a bed and breakfast service in the area, I realise this must be disappointing for you.

Mary Portas was commissioned by the Government to aid regeneration in the high street. Together with the Local Government Minister, Grant Shapps, she launched a competition to choose 12 towns to become 'Portas Pilots'. The winners stood to benefit from a share of £1million to help turn around their 'unloved and unused' high streets. Margate is one of the towns selected by Mary Portas to be a 'Portas Pilot' town. More details about the project can be found on the Government website:

 We were first contacted by the Mary Portas project a few weeks ago. As part of the project, they wanted us to consider offering discounted rail tickets to Margate. Southeastern is pleased to support the initiative, and we agreed to offer 500 discounted day return tickets each weekend for the duration of the promotion to encourage day trips to the town. However, because the Mary Portas project are liaising with local authorities, we didn't feel it necessary to consult with local authorities or stakeholders about the offer before it was introduced.

 I'm sorry we don't include an open return option as part of this offer. However you'll be pleased to note that, as well as the special-offer Mary Portas tickets, we also offer discounted 'Weekender' tickets (from £31.20) and 'Open Return' tickets (from £36.60) for passengers from London who want to stay in Margate overnight. For our part, we hope that passengers who take the opportunity to use the day trip tickets to Margate will visit for a longer stay at a later date.

 I hope this information is helpful, and thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention.

 Yours sincerely

 Daniel Westlake
Customer Relations Officer

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