Commuters' fury over fare riseBy Hugh Fort
August 16, 2012
Rail commuters feel they are being ‘held to ransom’ after another big ticket price hike was announced.
Passengers from Bracknell Forest can expect a 6.2 per cent rise in the cost from January.
Commuters from across the borough are furious claiming, they will see no improvement in service, which regularly sees late trains and passengers unable to find seats.
The retail prices index (RPI) for July, which determines how much regulated rail fares including season and saver tickets are allowed to increase in 2013, rose to 3.2 per cent from 2.8 per cent last month.
The average fare increase for England is then calculated by adding three per cent to RPI, although some tickets could go up by as much as 11 per cent as long as they are balanced by cuts on other fares.
Travel groups including Passenger Focus, the Campaign for Better Transport, the RMT and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) have all condemned the rises.
Getbracknell user Binman, of Binfield, added: “If there was another reasonable way of getting from Bracknell to the city, then I’m sure we’d all be doing it, but we’re held to ransom on these ridiculous rises on what are already some of the highest rail fares in Europe.”
Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Business manager, Gary Cranford, said: “This is unwelcome news for businesses and their employees already suffering high cost of commuting.
“Although we understand the need for rail companies to cover their costs and fund rail investment, this rise will affect the local economy. With the increasing cost of running a car, public transport should be a viable alternative.”
Bracknell photographer Stuart Bailey told the Bracknell Forest Standard via Twitter: “It’s rubbish!
“My train from Waterloo last night (Tuesday) broke down so got home even later! Now prices going up for a bad service!”
Twitter user Greg O’Reilly added: “Disgrace! They only went up in Jan time....30 quid for a travelcard is too much. I could share a taxi for that! We were better off with British Rail... it wasn’t driven by profit.”
Terry Pearce, chairman Defend Our Community Services, said: “These fares hikes are another nail in the coffin of increasingly hard-pressed Bracknell commuters.
“Fare rises of up to 11 per cent at a time when wages are being forced down and those on fixed incomes are struggling is wrong and the coalition should listen to passengers rather than the rail bosses.
“The railways should be returned to public ownership and operated not in the interests of private shareholders but in the interests of passengers.”
Michael Roberts, chief executive of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) said: “The Government decides the average increase of commuter ticket prices and other regulated fares which train companies will be required to introduce in January 2013. It has been Government policy during the past eight years for passengers to pay a larger share of the cost of operating the railways and to focus taxpayers’ money on investing in longer term improvements to the network.
“Any flexibility train companies have within the rules is to maximise revenue for the Government.”