Rail fare rises despite ‘dire’ service

Campaigners say fares are 'increasingly divorced from reality.'
Campaigners say fares are 'increasingly divorced from reality.'
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RAIL firms have been accused of being “divorced from reality” after fares rose again despite passengers having to endure “dire” performance.

Today’s 1.1 per cent average fare rise is the smallest since 2010, but campaigners say some customers will be “amazed there are any fare rises at all” because of the quality of the service.

One in 10 trains arrived at their final destination at least five minutes late over the last year, according to figures from Network Rail.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “In some parts of the country, given rail performance has been so dire, passengers will be amazed there are any fare rises at all.”

He added: “Passengers are paying their part in the railways - rail revenue is heading towards £9 billion a year.

“The rail industry must now keep its side of the promise: deliver on the basics.”

Bruce Williamson, of campaign group Railfuture, claimed fares were “increasingly divorced from reality”.

He criticised the Government for using the Retail Price Index to calculate regulated fare rises, rather than the Consumer Price Index.

“High street prices have remained stagnant for more than a year, with the official CPI inflation figure hovering around zero, yet the government thinks it’s fair to make rail travel even more expensive,” he said. “RPI is completely discredited and is rarely used by Government, except when it comes to jacking up rail fares. It’s time it was ditched.”