The first full week back at work after the summer break started with a Monday of misery for thousands of Thames Valley commuters.
The Government is facing mounting pressure to reconsider its 6.2 per cent rail fare rise for commuters in the South.
The transport network was put to the ultimate test. Indeed, the Government had warned to expect queues and disruption. So, how did it go?
Rail commuters are facing more reliable journeys thanks to a revolutionary new train which can replace worn-out tracks five times faster than before.
It's being used on the line between Salisbury and Basingstoke. Penny Silvester has the story.
Video. The frustration of paying for a weekly rail ticket when you only want to travel for three or four days could be about to end. Help is on the way for season ticket holders too.
The fare cutting plans were unveiled by the rail minister and Sussex MP Norman Baker today. Our Transport Correspondent, Mike Pearse reports.
Rail passengers in the South will be able to buy part time season pickets as part of plans announced by the transport minister Norman Baker.
It will mean passengers who work three or four days a week will no longer have to pay for full monthly or annual season tickets.
The scheme will be piloted in London next year.
The transport minister Norman Baker talked to us about the new tickets.
Transport Minister Norman Baker has called on the rail industry to tackle congestion. .
He said: “Climbing on to a very crowded train is an unpleasant experience and I sympathise with passengers using these services.
“I urge train operators to do what they can on these particular trains.”
The ‘top 10’ list of worst-crowded trains is generated from arrivals into 11 major cities during the morning peak between 7am and 10am, and departures during the evening peak of 4pm to 7pm
The top ten most overcrowded train services are
8:27am Heathrow T1, 2, 3 to London Paddington – load factor 165%
6:13pm London Euston to Birmingham New Street – load factor 165%
6:23am Manchester Airport to Middlesbrough – load factor 162%
6:00pm London Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour – load factor 161%
7:17am Banbury to London Marylebone – load factor 158%
6:19am Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone – load factor 155%
7:32am Tattenham Corner to London Bridge – load factor 154%
6:15am Portsmouth Harbour to London Waterloo – load factor 150%
7:09am Henley-on-Thames to London Paddington – load factor 149%
7:10am Haslemere to London Waterloo – load factor 149%
New figures reveal rail passengers in the south suffer more overcrowding than in any other part of the country.
On some trains more than 300 passengers are forced to stand.
The annual top ten list of the most overcrowded services reveal seven are in the Meridian region.
The worst is a train from Heathrow to Paddington. Commuters from Portsmouth, Banbury, Henley and Haslemere are also badly hit.
The figures are from a survey by the Department for Transport.
Passenger groups have welcomed the introduction today of new stricter rules to improve the punctuality of trains for commuters and other rail users in the South.
It follows revelations from the rail regulator that 360,000 of the region's trains are late or cancelled each year. Our political correspondent Phil Hornby reports
The Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) has said the overall average rise, including non-season tickets, will be 3.9% on Wednesday, with some fares not going up as much as this.
But with some non-season-ticket unregulated fares allowed to be increased by an unlimited amount, Railfuture said that some fares could be going up by around 11% or 12%.
From Wednesday, fares are also going up by an average of 4.2% on the Underground and on London buses.
– Bruce Williamson, Railfuture spokesperson
Petrol tax is frozen and overall the cost of driving remains static. How does this help persuade people out of their cars and ease congestion? Where is the green policy?
The Government has announced it is cutting its proposed rail fare rises following a campaign by commuters and the region's MPs.
In January, fares were supposed to go up by more than six per cent (6.2%) but today it was revealed that's been reduced to just over four (4.2%) instead. For passengers it means an annual season ticket costing £5,000 will go up by £210 instead of £310.
The Government have also confirmed the rise next year will also be capped to inflation plus one per cent. **
But commuters say it's still too much as our transport correspondent Mike Pearse reports.
Full statement from Department for Transport on rail fares
Passengers will benefit from a two per cent cut to the planned rises in the cost of nationwide train travel and travel on London buses and tubes following today’s announcement by Prime Minister David Cameron.
The average increase in regulated rail fares and the cost of travel on London’s buses and tube network will be limited to one per cent above inflation for 2013 and 2014. Fares had been due to increase by RPI+3 per cent.
This is expected to benefit more than a quarter of a million annual season ticket holders who can expect to have an extra £45 back in their pockets as a result of today’s decision.
- The Department for Transport (DfT) is planning that from January 2015 onwards the regulated fares cap for franchised train operators will increase by RPI+1 per cent
- The fares national rail passengers pay will continue to support our major programme of rail improvements, the largest in scale since the Victorian era. It will deliver crucial benefits for passengers, including relief from crowding on some of the nation’s busiest routes.
- The Government still believes it is vital that efficiencies are found in the cost of running the railways so that we can deliver better value for money for both taxpayers and farepayers and end the era of above-inflation rises.
– Department of Transport
The decision to reduce the planned increases, funded from savings identified in the DfT’s budget, will benefit hard-pressed commuters and passengers. In future years the DfT will look to absorb the costs by reprioritising within existing budgets.