Graphic: Campaigners call for a fare deal as rail prices are set for big rise

Train fares rise - again... Train fares rise - again...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
12:59 PM

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Pressure has intensified on the chancellor to stop an inflation-busting fare rise for East Anglian commuters poised to endure a 3.5pc hike in their train ticket price.

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While rail operators will not publish their fares until later this year, government rules could allow our operators to push the cost of season tickets 1pc above the July inflation rate of 2.5pc – a move which could see the cost of a Norwich to London annual season ticket soar to £7,741.80 in January.

Labour Party activists descended on Norwich station yesterday for a day of action to make the case for the railway to be publicly owned.

Candidates for the Norwich seats Jessica Asato and Clive Lewis both want to see lines taken out of the hands of private operators.

Mr Lewis, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Norwich South, said: “Yet again, fares are going up, private train companies continue to suck up public subsidy, while paying out handsome dividends to their shareholders and cutting staff on our trains and stations.”

Ms Asato added: “We currently have the Dutch government’s train operator, Abellio, running the Norwich to London line. I don’t see why we should be giving our taxpayers’ money away to another country’s rail operator when we can run profitable lines ourselves as we have proven with the East Coast Mainline making £1bn in profit for the government over the last five years.”

But Norwich MP Chloe Smith, one of the leaders of the Great Eastern Rail Campaign said that while she understood that the prospect of rail fare rises was concerning for commuters, and East Anglian commuters were not getting good value for money, they should back the case for investment which will go before the government later this year.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, who also leads the Great Eastern Rail Campaign, has said he will seek a meeting with chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne to demand that there should be no 3.5pc increase on rail fares on the Great Eastern Main Line between the region and the capital.

He said: “It is not right to keep putting up prices like this while the service is one of the worst in the country. The trains are old and the infrastructure has serious problems associated with it – and yet the price per mile is more in this part of the country than almost anywhere else in Britain.”

An Abellio spokesman said: “We recognise and share the importance that rail passengers place on value for money and improving train services in our region, and we’re working with our stakeholder partners on initiatives including the taskforce which has been established to make the case for greater investment in the Norwich to London mainline.”

Are the current rules about train fares fair? Write (giving your full contact details) to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk

Comment – Page 28

5 comments

  • Higher train fares will mean more people taking to the roads, more pollution and congestion. Congestion cost the industry billions. The chancellor, having given Abelio the bid, should now see to it that the price rises do not become astronomical for this, still dismal, rail service. Why do those who choose a greener method than driving be driven into poverty to travel to work? because its not just the fares that are going up, so is food, fuel rents and soon the interest rates. How does our millionair chasncellor think ordinary people are getting along with his favouritismn?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, August 22, 2014

  • Its the toads in this Government that are increasing pollution and CO2 emissions. By not pegging this cash cow method of making concerned and green commuters pay through the nose again and again, whilst stopping fuel escalators and trying to please car drivers, every time all the time. How long before people will stop the trains running in disgust?

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, August 21, 2014

  • Overpricing the railways is a big mistake! how is it that in Europe they understand that railways are a cultural and economic asset, transporting freight and people in safety,and easing pressure on the roads. The cost of road accidents alone makes it worth making railways cost effective,I remember when they closed the M&GN the increase in road traffic especially sugar beet lorries was enormous,and the A 17 became an overused black spot,which it still is today! The cost of neglecting and running down a railway system,then overcharging for it shows a lack of foresight that characterises political thinking in the UK.

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    Harry Rabinowitz

    Thursday, August 21, 2014

  • What's interesting is the way that Labour are attacking the government over the regulated rail fare increases, yet it was Labour that published a White Paper in 2007 that called for a reduction of government subsidy in the railways and the introduction of the "RPI + 1%" annual increase. That aside, it's difficult to justify the fare prices when looking at the standards of the service provided on the Norwich to London line. I recently had to take three people to London and the cost by train was the equivalent to a holiday abroad. Instead I drove them down - good thing I did, as there were problems on the line and the delays meant that they would have missed their meeting.

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    So_Many_Haters!

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • My daughter and I have made two return trips to London this school holidays. Both went wrong for different reasons and we were left waiting for hours. So you can imagine how happy I am that they want to increase the already vast sums we have to pay them to suffer at their hands in order to get to London. They should be paying us.

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    alecto

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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