Commuters' anger over increase in rail fares

Dorset Echo: A passenger train on its way from Weymouth to Dorchester A passenger train on its way from Weymouth to Dorchester

PASSENGERS could be driven off the rails by proposed fare increases for next year.

Councillors, politicians, transport experts and passengers in Dorset have hit out at the announcement that rail fares across the country will rise by 6.2 per cent in January – about double the rate of inflation.

The Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation in July – which stood at 3.2 per cent – is used to calculate the rises and some English fares will rise by RPI plus three per cent.

Councillor Christine James, transport spokesman for Weymouth and Portland Borough Council , said: “The service provided doesn’t match the fares people are being asked to pay. If train fares were more reasonable more people might want to use the trains more.

“A return to London is about £70 – it’s a lot more expensive than driving and parking. Train links in the south west aren’t great and I can’t blame people who choose to use their cars.”

South Dorset MP Richard Drax said: “I’m very concerned at this price rise, especially as train fares have been going up successively over the last ten years. Some are the highest in Europe.

“If prices continue to rise they will inevitably force passengers off the trains and onto the roads.”

ccAndy Hutchings, a transport campaigner in Weymouth, said: “It’s regrettable that once again rail passengers will be affected by this above-inflation increase which is due to go on for a few more years. Will this help the over-crowding and delays on trains?

“Successive governments have said the extra money will be used for infrastructure improvements but still nothing has been done about the single link from Dorchester to Poole.”

David Redgewell, of the South West Transport Network, said: “From a passenger perspective the fares are just too high and it’s going to make fares unaffordable to the vast majority of the public in Dorset.

“We have to get the government to reconsider as they did last year.

“If people are going to get out of their cars and come to visit Weymouth on the train then we need affordable fares.

“Affordable public transport in west Dorset is not a luxury – people need it to get to work.

“The county council is encouraging integrated travel and we need to make it affordable.

“Weymouth needs a good rail service to keep the local economy going.

“It shouldn’t be that you have reduced fares during the Olympics – it should be for everybody 360 days a year.”

'We understand these are tough times'

Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), said: “The government decides the average increase of commuter ticket prices and other regulated fares which train companies will be required to introduce in January 2013.

“It has been government policy during the past eight years for passengers to pay a larger share of the cost of operating the railways and to focus taxpayers’ money on investing in longer term improvements to the network. Any flexibility train companies have within the rules is to maximise revenue for the government.”

A spokesman for First Great Western said: “We understand that these are tough times for many people but the money raised by government through fares ensures investment in more trains, better stations and faster services.”

Comments (5)

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4:26pm Thu 16 Aug 12

ijwufo68 says...

Con's + lib's will get more road-tax to line there pockets with then!!!!
Con's + lib's will get more road-tax to line there pockets with then!!!! ijwufo68

10:04pm Thu 16 Aug 12

canadaguy says...

I can only imagine the inconvenience this might cause people in sw Dorset. Compared to here, though, (Alberta, Canada), your railway service is phenomenal! We simply don't have the population to support such a network as England has... Road and air transportation are the main modes here.
I can only imagine the inconvenience this might cause people in sw Dorset. Compared to here, though, (Alberta, Canada), your railway service is phenomenal! We simply don't have the population to support such a network as England has... Road and air transportation are the main modes here. canadaguy

2:38am Fri 17 Aug 12

cj07589 says...

Ripoff Britain down to a tee the most expensive trains in the world thats usually delayed coupled with terrible service standards and no seats. What's there to moan about, glad I'm moving abroad soon at least I'll have some disposable income left after paying taxes, energy and transport costs.
Ripoff Britain down to a tee the most expensive trains in the world thats usually delayed coupled with terrible service standards and no seats. What's there to moan about, glad I'm moving abroad soon at least I'll have some disposable income left after paying taxes, energy and transport costs. cj07589

9:58am Fri 17 Aug 12

annotator1 says...

Return train ticket to Waterloo from Weymouth, booked online six weeks in advance cost me £22.50. I can't drive there and back for that!
Return train ticket to Waterloo from Weymouth, booked online six weeks in advance cost me £22.50. I can't drive there and back for that! annotator1

3:49pm Sat 18 Aug 12

cj07589 says...

annotator1 wrote:
Return train ticket to Waterloo from Weymouth, booked online six weeks in advance cost me £22.50. I can't drive there and back for that!
All very nice if you have the luxury and spare time to book your diary six weeks in advance. The reality for most professionals is this is simply not feasible.
[quote][p][bold]annotator1[/bold] wrote: Return train ticket to Waterloo from Weymouth, booked online six weeks in advance cost me £22.50. I can't drive there and back for that![/p][/quote]All very nice if you have the luxury and spare time to book your diary six weeks in advance. The reality for most professionals is this is simply not feasible. cj07589

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