Train pas­sen­gers learn of rail fare fate

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News - By DAVID SEY­MOUR david.sey­mour@pe­ter­bor­oughto­

TRAIN pas­sen­gers have been warned to ex­pect an above­in­fla­tion hike in rail fares in the New Year - with com­muters in Peter­bor­ough likely to feel the brunt of the in­crease.

It was an­nounced yes­ter­day that the cost of trav­el­ling on the UK’S trains is set to rise by an av­er­age of 5.9 per cent from Jan­uary 2 - 0.7 per cent above the cur­rent in­fla­tion rate un­der the Re­tail Price In­dex (RPI).

There are win­ners and losers among train pas­sen­gers in Peter­bor­ough, how­ever, with some fares set to go un­changed, while oth­ers leap close to the Govern­ment’s cap of RPI plus one per cent.

East Coast Main Line an­nounced its fares will rise by an av­er­age of five per cent from Jan­uary 2, be­low the rate of in­fla­tion. How­ever, com­muters trav­el­ling be­tween Peter­bor­ough and Lon­don will face a six per cent hike with the cost of an an­nual sea­son ticket ris­ing from £6,232 to £6,608.

This fol­lows a 5.8 per cent in­crease at the be­gin­ning of 2011, which saw the cost of an an­nual sea­son ticket rise from £5,892 to £6,232.

Raven­sthorpe Ward coun­cil­lor Ed Mur­phy led a cam­paign in Jan­uary to raise aware­ness about the price hike.

He said: “It’s the sec­ond year it’s gone up by hundreds of pounds. Bear­ing in mind some peo­ple haven’t seen a pay rise this year and they are strug­gling to find the money to get to work, it’s an out­ra­geous in­crease. It’s go­ing to af­fect hard-work­ing fam­i­lies, par­tic­u­larly com­muters.”

Rail fares for First Cap­i­tal Con­nect will in­crease by an av­er­age of 5.7 per cent, with the an­nual sea­son ticket be­tween Peter­bor­ough and Lon­don due to go up by 5.6 per cent, from £5,320 to £5,620.

The av­er­age in­crease for East Mid­lands Trains will be 5.7 per cent.

The Govern­ment ar­gues the bur­den of rail in­vest­ment should be fo­cused on the train pas­sen­gers, not the tax­pay­ers at large.

Speak­ing at Peter­bor­ough Train Sta­tion yes­ter­day, com­muter Nigel Ain­scoe (54) dis­agreed. He is from Not­ting­ham and works as a data­base ad­min­is­tra­tor at Peter­bor­ough’s Whiteconcierge.

He said: “I think a good rail in­fra­struc­ture is an im­por­tant thing for a coun­try to have so I think the state should make a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to that be­cause it ben­e­fit the state in the long term.”

A 34-year-old Peter­bor­ough man work­ing in Lon­don for the Min­istry of De­fence, who asked not be named, said he felt the pas­sen­gers’ in­vest­ment was be­ing un­fairly fo­cused on first class. He said: “There’s noth­ing for the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple who use their ser­vice.”

Peter Ward (46), from West Town, an an­nual sea­son ticket holder for jour­neys be­tween Peter­bor­ough and Lon­don, de­scribed the cost as “ex­or­bi­tant”.

He said: “It’s get­ting to the point where you have to se­ri­ously con­sider, is it worth pay­ing all that money?”

MP for Peter­bor­ough Ste­wart Jack­son said: “Ev­ery­one is feel­ing the pinch, so trav­ellers will rightly ex­pect more trains, bet­ter punc­tu­al­ity and an all-round en­hanced ser­vice for their money.”

price hike: Cllr Ed Mur­phy.

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