Commuter concern over rail fare hike

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Lime Street station. Pic by Owen Swift © JMU Journalism

Merseyside commuters have expressed concern at the recent announcement of above-inflation rail fare rises in the New Year.

Train fares in Britain is set to have an average rise of 2.3% from January 2, 2017.

The increase will cover both regulated fares – including season tickets – and unregulated fares, such as off-peak leisure tickets. Some unregulated fares will see an increase of ore than the average 2.3%.

Regional operator Northern had also announced the increase of off-peak tickets for commuters in the North West by 50p earlier this year, which was described as a ‘well-needed’ boost for the network.

Regional rail users expressed reservations about how the increased revenue would be spent.

Nick Wilson, who regularly travels from Liverpool to London, told JMU Journalism: “It’s a bit of a surprise, but I usually travel with Virgin and the services are always good there.

“Unless they are renovating, or doing something with infrastructures and things like that, it’s quite suspicious where the money is going.”

Liverpool commuter Jennifer Dane told JMU Journalism: “They know they can charge us more because for many of us it’s not a means of transportation that can be substituted.

“Whether they actually need more money to build better trains and improve services, I’m not sure – I doubt that will happen anytime soon.”

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the watchdog Transport Focus, said that passengers will now expect railway operators’ investment to deliver a more reliable day-to-day service.

The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, now aims to simplify fares and improve services with this fare surge to ensure passengers get the service they pay for.

“Around 97p in every pound passengers pay goes back into running and improving services,” said Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group.

Despite the Government spending record amounts to upgrade train services, punctuality levels still fall well below target.

YouTube: BBC News


About Sachi Kondo, JMU Journalism