Fears over cost of fast train links
KENT County Council fears high fares could outweigh the benefits of high speeds – and put the growth of Ashford and the regeneration of Folkestone at risk.
KCC is concerned that people will not move from London to east Kent if they have to pay too much to commute into the capital.
Next Tuesday KCC’s transport board will discuss the introduction of the high speed trains and the changes to existing services.
Train operator Southeastern’s new timetable is due to start on December 13 though it has been suggested that high speed trains could be on track sooner.
Passengers have already raised concerns that tickets for high speed trains could cost up to 30 per cent more.
The county council is worried that these increases along with yearly price rises – which for travellers from Ashford and Folkestone jumped by more than 9 per cent this year – will negate the savings in terms of time.
The report being presented to transport board members says: “The county council will press for lower introductory fares to ensure passengers do take advantage of these services.”
KCC would also like to see – and is exploring – the possibilities of extending London’s Oyster Card scheme into Kent.
Southeastern’s 395 high speed trains are ready for action at Ashford
The high-speed Hitachi trains which are set to be introduced on Kent rail lines in 2009