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Train companies defend fare decisions

The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) has defended the way rail companies apply the fare rises that Government policy allows them. While rail fares can only go up by inflation plus 1% that is the average figure which is why some fares have risen by much more today.

Edward Welsh, ATOC spokesman told ITV News: "Just as they might increase them above 4.2% they have to de-crease them elsewhere.

"It's like a traditional pair of kitchen scales. The Government ensures that all the fares come back to 4.2%."

Rail passengers hit by fare increase

Rail passengers are being hit in the pocket as inflation-busting fare rises take effect.

Regulated fares, which include season tickets, are increasing by an average of 4.2%, with the overall average rise for all tickets being 3.9%

Campaign groups have pointed out today's increase is the 10th successive above-inflation rise, with some rail season ticket holders seeing their fares rise by more than 50% in the last 10 years. Also, the TUC has said that fares have risen far faster than wages since the recession in 2008.

ScotRail fares will rise by 3.9%.

"We have worked hard to keep the increase down to a level that continues to offer value for money. At the same time, our approach enables us to continue to invest in improvements including more and faster services and better facilities atstations and on trains.”

– ScotRail spokesperson


Failures are costing taxpayer £451m: RMT claim

In the wake of the cancelled franchise for the West Coast Main Line, one leading rail union claims almost half of the existing franchises are now receiving public bailouts.

The RMT claim 8 of the 19 franchises are being subsidised by the taxpayer and are calling for the full renationalisation of the railways.

The union also claims that revenue support payments made to train companies has increased from £290 million a year to more than £450 million.

"The expensive shambles of rail franchising extends well beyond the fiasco on the West Coast mainline as these figures show that a majority of the UK's rail routes will soon be on corporate welfare due to a mixture of bogus train operator projections and government and departmental incompetence.

"Hundreds of millions of pounds that could go towards improving our railways or keeping down fares is being soaked up by this racket which is lining the pockets of the private rail companies at taxpayers' expense."

– Bob Crow RMT General Secretary

The Department for Transport has suspended 3 members of staff over flaws in the franchise bidding process for the West Coast Main Line. A full investigation is now taking place and department officials are declining to make any other comments.

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