Saturday, 24 August 2019

Grudging acceptance of fares rise

RAIL fares are set to rise by 2.8 per cent in January.

The increase, which follows a hike of 3.1 per cent this year, will apply to all regulated tickets, including weekly, monthly and annual season tickets.

It means that fares have risen by 37 per cent in the last decade.

The rise is calculated each year based on the July inflation figure.

It means that the cost of an annual season ticket from Henley to London Paddington will rise from £3,928 to £4,037.98 and the cost of a monthly season ticket will go from £377.10 to £387.66.

The cost of an annual season ticket from Henley to London with a travelcard for zones 1 to 6 will go from £4,784 to £4,917.95.

 The cost of a 12-month season ticket from Henley to Reading will rise from £1,192 to £1,225.38.

Patrick Fleming, secretary and a founding member of Henley Branch User Group, said: “I am not surprised by the increase. People will grumble, which is understandable because it takes a chunk out of their salaries every month, but if you want to go to work, it is the best way. 

“There is also a trend for people choosing to work from home a couple of days a week.

“The train service we have now is pretty reliable. There were one or two problems with the electrification but it is up and running now.”

Neil Gunnell, of Henley Trains, said: “It is bad news but our services are much better than they used to be.

“In the Thames Valley, we have had major upgrades to Great Western Railway trains. The electric trains have more leg room, wifi and tables, so we have been beneficiaries.” Philip Meadowcroft, chairman of Wargrave User Group, said: “It is a staggering figure. As with most things now, you continue to pay more but you don’t always get the same service.

“A lot of people will complain about the price increase but they will still have to use the trains.”

Great Western Railway runs the Henley branch line, which serves Shiplake and Wargrave, and changes to the timetable due in December are set to be announced shortly.

Mr Meadowcroft said: “The train companies have got to get hold of the situation and have a coherent statement on the future of our train services.

“These services may not be top of the agenda for them but they are for the people who use them.”

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