Rail user group aiming to combat effects of rising train ticket prices

A RAIL user group will continue to look for ways to reduce the cost of train travel, despite seeing fares shoot up.

Commuters and other rail users returning from the Christmas holidays were hit with an increase of 3.9-4.2 per cent in ticket prices, which came into effect on January 2 on services between stations in Crow country and London King’s Cross.

County councillor Susan van de Ven, chairman of the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group, said that her group would be looking for more schemes which can mitigate the effect of the price hike.

She said: “What we’re trying to do is arrange as many special types of fares for different groups of passengers as we can, so that we can ensure the cost of travel is kept down.

“I’ve just been informed by Cambridgeshire County Council that they will investigate the feasibility of allowing concessionary bus passes to be used on trains.

“It’s a year since we got free car parking re-introduced at Shepreth Station, and the charges at Meldreth are only £1.50, which is the lowest price on the First Capital Connect (FCC) network.”

Cllr van de Ven said she was also looking to get the student discount offered to youngsters travelling between the three stations and Cambridge, which currently stands at 50 per cent, increased to 55 per cent, and is attending a stakeholder meeting in London in the coming weeks.

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A spokesman for train operator FCC said: ““We understand how difficult any rise in fares can be, but it is the Government that decides the average rise in season tickets to pay for continued investment in the railways.

“In fact, on average, only 3p in every £1 train companies receive is profit and our profit figure is lower still.

“Looking at the average of all our fares, we have pegged the rise to 3.9 per cent.”