Royston rail group says train fare hikes are ‘completely unjustified’
PUBLISHED: 06:54 09 January 2020
Royston commuters have responded to the 2.7 per cent hike in rail prices at the start of the year – calling the increase “completely unjustified”.
The rise in 2020 prices means that the cost of the average annual season ticket into London has gone up by more than £100, although the increase is lower than the 3.1 per cent price hike at the start of 2019.
A 12-month season ticket to London terminals from Royston, Foxton, Meldreth or Shepreth is now £5,076, with that figure rising to £6,516 when a London Travelcard from zones 1-6 is included. That ticket is now £372 more expensive than in 2018.
The Royston & Villages Rail Users Group, in conjunction with the Letchworth Rail Users Group, said: "Once again, the Department for Transport, which sets the rail fares, has failed to adequately or fairly respond to this issue and continue to treat passengers with contempt.
"A fare freeze would obviously have been appropriate given the unprecedented disruption of recent years. Instead, weary passengers are facing another completely unjustified fare increase.
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"The department need to get a handle on this issue before it prices an entire demographic out of rail travel all together."
While his department has come under fire, transport secretary and Hertfordshire MP Grant Shapps confirmed plans to trial a system of 'flexible' tickets on Govia Thameslink services, offering discounts to part-time workers travelling only certain days a week.
Paul Plummer - chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, the industry body which regulates rail fares - said: "We understand that no one wants to pay more to travel, which is why train companies have held the average fare increases below inflation, while still investing to improve journeys.
"Passengers will benefit from 1,000 extra, improved train carriages and more than 1,000 extra weekly services in 2020."
Helen Robertson, a freelancer, has commuted into the capital for the last three years.
Her destination in London often changes, but she estimates that both her and her husband's monthly travel costs exceed £1,000 - a higher figure than their mortage.
From the floor of a packed train carriage, she writes in an email: "Charging as much as they do for a service that is unreliable and uncomfortable a lot of the time just isn't good enough."