Tuesday, 09 August 2022

Commuters face fare rises of 3.2 per cent

RAIL fares are set to increase by up to 3.2 per cent in January.

About 40 per cent of fares will rise by the regulated amount.

This will include season tickets on most commuter routes, some off-peak returns and “anytime” tickets around major cities.

Last year rail fares rose by 3.6 per cent, which was the biggest jump for five years.

The Labour party and the Campaign for Better Transport have both called on the Government to freeze fares.

But the Department for Transport said taxpayers subsidise the network by more than £4billion a year.

A spokesman said: “Any fare increase is unwelcome, but it is not fair to ask people who do not use trains to pay more for those who do.”

In May, an overhaul of rail timetables led to widespread rail disruption. Northern brought in a temporary timetable that removed more than 100 trains a day, while Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern also introduced a reduced service.

Great Western Railway runs the Henley to Twyford branch line, which stops at Shiplake and Wargrave. It has postponed its major timetable changes planned for December.

Neil Gunnell, of Henley Trains, said: “These fare increases are no surprise as they are calculated using a long-standing model.

“While travellers in other areas are rightly aggrieved about recent service failure, locals have seen electrification investment come to fruition in new, longer, faster and more comfortable trains, more space and greater service choice.

“We continue to monitor signalling failure but note that, by the end of the year, the Elizabeth Line tunnel will be open to add options through the centre of London to the City and beyond.”

Philip Meadowcroft, chairman and founder of the Wargrave User Group, said: “Since October, the reliability — especially in the morning and evening peaks — of mainline services in and out of Twyford to either Paddington or Reading have become noticeably more erratic than before.

“At the same time the branch line from Twyford to Henley has held up remarkably well.

“After some initial teething problems, the staff at Twyford now invariably work their shirts off to bring some semblance of order out of the chaos of late and delayed arrivals from Paddington in the evening peak period.”

Henley Trains will meetGWR in London next month.

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