First day woes for pas­sen­gers

Rochdale Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

RAIL pas­sen­gers in Rochdale faced price in­creases and train can­cel­la­tions on their first day back to work af­ter the fes­tive pe­riod.

Fares have now in­creased by an av­er­age of 3.2 per cent - the largest hike in six years - com­ing on top of months of chaos on the re­gion’s rail­ways.

Cam­paign groups and op­po­si­tion po­lit­i­cal par­ties said the hikes would only add to the “mis­ery” of pas­sen­gers who had “suf­fered atro­cious ser­vice in 2018”.

The De­part­ment for Trans­port said it was in­vest­ing in the big­gest net­work mod­erni­sa­tion since Vic­to­rian times, with ma­jor projects to pro­vide faster and bet­ter trains with more seats.

Hey­wood and Mid­dle­ton MP Liz McInnes at­tended Castle­ton sta­tion on Wed­nes­day, Jan­uary 2, where two train ser­vices to Rochdale and Black­burn were can­celled by North­ern be­cause of a fault. She claimed av­er­age fares have risen nearly three times faster than wages, with some com­muters now pay­ing £2,850 more to travel to work than in 2010.

Ms McInnes said: “The amount by which train com­pa­nies can raise reg­u­lated fares is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Trans­port Sec­re­tary Chris Grayling.

“He has the power to en­force this but he’s choos­ing not to. Rail users are pay­ing more and more for less and less. The sooner our rail­ways are brought back into pub­lic own­er­ship the bet­ter.”

Last Novem­ber, in­dus­try body the Rail De­liv­ery Group said money from fares was go­ing di­rectly to­wards im­prove­ments, but ac­cepted the in­creases would be hard to swal­low for suf­fer­ing pas­sen­gers.

North­ern said their av­er­age an­nual fare means an av­er­age weekly sea­son ticket will rise by £1.30 and the av­er­age off peak day ticket 25p.

A spokesper­son said: “These rises, which are in line with RPI (re­tail price in­dex), will help fund cur­rent and fu­ture in­vest­ment in rail ser­vices across the north. North­ern is de­liv­er­ing new trains, im­proved trains, bet­ter sta­tions and more ser­vices to trans­form lo­cal rail for cur­rent and fu­ture cus­tomers. Fares are an im­por­tant fac­tor in en­abling the in­vest­ment that will make this hap­pen and en­sure the rail­way con­tin­ues to sup­port our cus­tomers, com­mu­ni­ties and the re­gional econ­omy.”

They added that cus­tomers can save by tak­ing ad­van­tage of ad­vance fare dis­counts on more than 670 jour­neys while ad­vance pur­chase fares have been re­duced on more than 100 jour­neys.

●●MP Liz McInnes and rail pas­sen­gers at Castle­ton sta­tion on Jan­uary 2 the first day of new fare rises

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.