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Cambridge MP voices anger as rail commuters face fare rise of more than 2.7 per cent



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Rail fares across the region rose by 2.7 per cent today (January 2).

Daniel Zeichner (25757720)
Daniel Zeichner (25757720)

Train companies say it is the third successive year that average fares have been held below the inflation measure on which rises are based.

But rail users still face major increases. On Govia Thameslink (GTR), for example, a super off-peak day return from Cambridge to King’s Cross is currently £17.80 but will increase to £18.30.

Steve White, chief operating officer for GTR, said: “Fares on Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express will rise by an average of 2.74 per cent, which is in line with the rate of inflation on which this is based. Under our contract this money is passed on to the government.”

He added: “The Office of Rail and Road on-time figures confirm that GTR is now running more trains, more punctually than all other major operators.

“We pledge to do more, investing in additional cross-London routes and improving the quality and consistency of our service that passengers rightly deserve.”

A Greater Anglia spokesperson said: “Our average fare increase is just under 2.6 per cent, however we have frozen some of our ticket prices, including all of our advance fares which start from £6 and can be up to 60-70 per cent cheaper than walk-up fares.”

In 2019, a weekly season ticket between Cambridge and Liverpool Street was priced at £117. From January 2, the cost will increase to £120.30.

Edward Leigh, of the Smarter Cambridge Transport group, said: “Nobody likes paying more for something, but we need to invest in railways.

“Perhaps of greater concern than fare increases is the poor value of most fares for the slow and infrequent services between Cambridge and other cities.

“Those fares are expensive compared with London services, and ineligible for Network Card discounts.”

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner dubbed the last 10 years “a decade of despair” for hardworking commuters, and is demanding that the government do better.

He explained that since 2010 prices have risen a whopping 39.5 per cent but commuter satisfaction is a ten-year low.

Speaking as commuters got back to work the MP, who is a leading member of the transport select committee, said: “Given the particularly poor service that passengers have been suffering recently, the fare rises should be cancelled - paying extra for poor service just adds insult to injury.

“We are in the midst of a climate emergency, we need to be encouraging people onto trains not putting obstacles in the way.”



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