02 January 2020 04:35
Rail passengers face "another decade of misery" as fares are hiked by an average of 2.7%, a campaign group has claimed. Some long-distance commuters saw the annual cost of getting to work increase by more than £100 on Thursday despite fewer than two-thirds of trains being on time last year. Fewer than half (47%) of passengers are satisfied with the value for money of train tickets, according to the latest survey by watchdog Transport Focus. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced a new fund will be created to support trials of more flexible fares across the country as part of improvements focused on "putting passengers first". Network Rail data shows only 65% of trains arrived at their scheduled station stops within one minute of the timetable in the 12 months to December 7.
South Western Railway passengers suffered from strike action throughout December, while there was major disruption to Northern, TransPennine Express and West Midlands Trains services during much of 2019. Rail, Maritime and Transport union analysis of company accounts for train operators and three major rolling stock firms showed they have paid out £4.4 billion in dividends to shareholders over the last 10 years. Transport Focus director David Sidebottom said: "After a year of pretty poor performance in some areas, passengers just want a consistent day-to-day service they can rely on and a better chance of getting a seat." Among the routes where the price of annual season tickets has increased by a three-figure sum are: An off-peak return ticket from Dundee to Edinburgh has increased in price by 50p to £29.40, while an Anytime return ticket from Gillingham to London via the HS1 route is up £1.20 to £45.40. The increase in around 45% of fares, including season tickets, is regulated by the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments. After another month of delays and disruption on the railways, and with next week's fare rise adding to passengers' dismay, find out what the Government must do to get the railways back on track: #futureofrail #RailReview pic.twitter.com/QzKynYkVkD — Campaign for Better Transport (@CBTransport) December 29, 2019 Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions for industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said: "We know that no-one wants to pay more to travel, and rail companies have, for the third year in a row, held average fare increases below inflation while continuing to deliver investment in new trains and extra services that will improve journeys for customers." Mr Shapps unveiled a new fares trial on Govia Thameslink Railway services which will give passengers on certain routes the opportunity to buy better value tickets aimed at part-time workers.
Commuter groups reacted angrily to news of the fare rises, with frustrated rail workers and campaigners joining forces to stage a protest outside London's King's Cross station on Thursday. Among the routes where the price of annual season tickets has increased by a three-figure sum are Reading to London, which went up by £132 to £4,736; Gloucester to Birmingham, which rose £118 to £4,356; and Glasgow to Edinburgh - up £116 to £4,200. Passengers buying tickets for day trips have also been hit by the fares rise. An off-peak return ticket from Dundee to Edinburgh has increased in price by 50p to £29.40, while an Anytime return ticket from Gillingham in Kent to London via the HS1 route is up £1.20 to £45.40. The rail companies that increased their fares the most were: Chiltern Railways at 3 per cent, CrossCountry whose ticket prices went up 2.8 per cent, and South Western Railway at 2.8 per cent. - London Overground: Vast majority of single fares are frozen but Travelcards and price caps will increase by an average of 2.8% - TfL Rail: Vast majority of single fares are frozen but Travelcards and price caps will increase by an average of 2.8% - TransPennine Express: Did not provide a figure for the average increase across all its fares Some commuters will have to pay over £100 extra for their season tickets (Photo: Getty) The increase in around 45 per cent of fares, including season tickets, is regulated by the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments. It urged governments to base regulated fare rises on the more commonly used CPI measure of inflation, which was 2.1 per cent in July. Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph last month Transport secretary Grant Shapps said passengers deserve a "punctual, modern and reliable" railway. PROTESTS will be held nationwide today as rail fare rises come into force that will see some commuters forking out more than £100 extra this year. A new trial will let part-time workers — for whom season tickets may not be cost-effective — access cheaper fares on some Govia Thameslink Railway routes. Network Rail data shows only 65 per cent of trains arrived at stations within a minute of the correct time in the year to December 7. Among annual season ticket rises coming into force today is one of £132 to £4,736 for journeys from Reading to London. Some UK commuters pay more than seven times as much for season tickets as counterparts in Europe, a TUC study shows. Industry body the Rail Delivery Group, said: 'We know that no one wants to pay more to travel, and rail companies have, for the third year in a row, held average fare increases below inflation while continuing to deliver investment in new trains and extra services that will improve journeys for customers.' Rail passengers frustrated by high prices and poor service will have to pay an average of 27 per cent more from today DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/GETTY IMAGES Flexible commuter fares are to be introduced on some of the busiest rail lines as the average cost of an annual season ticket passes £3,000 for the first time. The new tickets will be offered initially on Govia Thameslink Railway as an alternative to rigid week-long passes, which have slumped in popularity in recent years as more people opt to work from home. In the trial by the state-owned London North Eastern Railway (LNER) overpriced return fares will be abolished to allow passengers…