Rail users hit out at fares hike

COMMUTERS travelling by train are facing a tougher journey as inflation-busting train fare increases take effect.

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Anger over train fare rises
Anger over train fare rises

The latest price hike saw regulated fares, which include season tickets, increase by an average of 4.2% with an overall average rise of 3.9%.

And yesterday, as the increases started to bite, train-users around Glasgow hit out.

Amid cancellations and delays, passengers were unhappy over the rise of fares.

Nicole Glen, a 22-year-old Glasgow University student said: "It's ridiculous. Every single year the prices go up. The trains here are notorious for providing a poor service and being overpriced."

Some commuters say they will be forced to consider alternative means of travel.

Andrew Sim, a 30-year-old manager from Coatbridge, said: "I am not happy at all as I regularly commute to Edinburgh for work.

"I would rather take my car but there are not enough parking spaces and petrol prices are also incredibly high."

The Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) said it recognised that nobody liked paying more for their journey but funding can only come from taxpayers or from passengers.

The price increase is the 10th successive above-inflation rise, with some season ticket holders having their fares increase by 50% over the last 10 years.

Transport Minister Norman Baker said: "We are engaged in the greatest rail investment since the 19th century and it is only right that the passenger, as well as the taxpayer, contributes towards that.

"In the longer term, we are determined to reduce the cost of running the railways so that we can end the era of above-inflation fare rises."

Train companies are being allowed to increase the price of season tickets by more than 4.2% as long as the overall increase does not exceed 4.2%.

In some areas fares have gone up by as much as 9.2% despite promises of a cap on fare rises that had been proposed by the Government.

Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle said: "David Cameron misled commuters when he promised to cap fare rises at 1% above inflation."

The Labour MP insisted that the increase is the result of Governments decision to 'cave in' to private train companies and allow them to increase prices beyond the proposed cap.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has said that average train fares have increased nearly three times faster than average wages since the beginning of the recession in 2008.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats have faced criticism after pledging in their election campaign they would cut rail fares if elected.

DAVID LOUGHEN, 20, student, Burnside:

It's very hard for people to afford to travel in the middle of a recession. You'd hope that with the increase there would be an improvement of services but it is unlikely. In future I will make alternative plans to taking the train.

CAROLINE TOPPING, 22, manager, South Side:

I work outside Glasgow and the increase is noticeable.

The fares seem to go up every couple of months. It will affect the way I travel, and I think I will get a rail card. For the price you pay you'd expect more reliable services and improvements.

ELLEN STAY, 19,

student, West End:

I travel by train when I go to Edinburgh and I can see how the increases are a big issue. It's shocking the price we pay in train fares compared to the rest of Europe. It is incredibly expensive.

ANDREW SIM, 30, sales manager, Coatbridge:

I am not happy at all as I regularly commute to Edinburgh for work. I'd rather take my car but there are not enough parking spaces and petrol prices are also high. The train service in this country falls far behind other countries.

NICOLE GLEN, 22, student, City Centre:

It's ridiculous. Every single year the prices go up and up. I will be looking for alternative travel arrangements, probably by bus which is more fairly priced.

Trains here are notorious for providing a poor service and being overpriced.

SHONA COWIE, 24, student, Ayrshire:

It's completely debilitating.

I can't drive so I'm limited in how I can travel and I have to rely on trains.

I am more likely now to get a bus as they have better and regular services and I am more likely to get a seat.

Automotive

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