Rail fares rises: Grayling pleads with unions and train firms

Lloyd Doyle
August 15, 2018

Another angry customer, Paul Gannon said: "January's rail fare rise is unjustifiable after years of excessive fare hikes and plummeting services".

"We've set up a compensation package for those areas [affected]... that's worth something like almost 10 percent of an annual season ticket and is a much bigger compensation package than ever would be covered by a [reduction in the] fare increase", he said.

Other operators such as LNER, Virgin Trains and CrossCountry will increase their fares by 3.2 per cent.

An annual season ticket between Reading, Berkshire, and London Paddington now costs £4,464, with an increase of 3.2 per cent, it would be £4,607, an increase of £143 a year.

Connectivity spokesman Colin Smyth, said the rises were "unnecessary".

He said: 'I support paying rail staff decent wages for the hard work they do, but I also now believe it is important that pay agreements also use CPI and not RPI in future'.

"There also needs to be clear communication about how and when improvements will be delivered, in order to rebuild trust due to the recent experience of increased costs and delays to the infrastructure programme".

Its chief executive Anthony Smith argued it was time for a fairer, clearer fares formula based on and agreed with the switch to CPI.

Transport secretary Michael Matheson said: "The Scottish Government recognises fares increases are unwelcome".

Economists are predicting that the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation - the number used by the Department for Transport to set rail fare increases - will increase by 3.5%.

Scottish Greens transport spokesman John Finnie said: "While it's welcome the increase in Scotland won't be as eye-watering as in England, rail users still deserve better value for money". Chris Grayling's desperate attempt to try and make front line rail workers pay for his incompetence and the train operators greed has backfired on him just like everything else he touches.

The cost of regulated rail fares will increase by 3.2 per cent from January 2019.

The issue of fares on south east services, now provided by Southeastern, is politically sensitive, with a new franchise operator due to be announced this year.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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