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  1. National

Government making 'tough decisions' over rail fare hikes

Responding to the announcement of an average 2.2% increase in rail fares January, Rail Minister Claire Perry said that the Government was "taking the tough decisions needed" to improve railways.

Rail Minister Claire Perry said the Government is taking 'tough decisions' over railway improvements Credit: PA

This Government has embarked on one of the biggest programmes of rail investment for a generation as part of our long term economic plan, investing £38 billion over the next five years.

Passengers are rightly concerned about the cost and complexity of fares. That is why last year we announced a real-terms freeze on regulated fares for the first time in a decade and this continues into 2015.

Significantly we have also removed the fares flex for 2015. As a further measure we have asked operators to improve the information passengers receive when buying a ticket.

– Rail Minister Claire Perry

South West Trains fares to rise by 2.3%

South West Trains has confirmed that fares on its services will rise by an average of 2.3% from next month.

Fares will rise from next month Credit: Press Association

The cost of a single journey will rise by an average of 9.5pence, the lowest increase for five years.

Separately, the Government confirmed in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement that season tickets and other fares it regulates will rise by 2.5%.

Rail passengers can check ticket prices for 2015 at stations, online at southwesttrains.co.uk or through National Rail Enquiries.

Money from fares goes towards running and maintaining the railway which benefits every household in the country, by improving journeys, creating employment and helping to boost the economy.

Over the next five years, Network Rail is spending on average £27m a day building and maintaining a better railway that benefits passengers, communities and businesses across Britain alongside commitments made by train companies to improve services.

– Tim Shoveller, Chief Executive of the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance

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  1. National

Unions hit out at 'scandalous' rail fares rise

Transport trade unions have criticised today's announcement of an average 2.2% increase in rail fares from January 2.

The Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) described the rise as an "annual persecution of passengers," while The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) called the increase "scandalous".

We have seen fares jump by as much as 245% on key routes since privatisation 20 years ago.

It is now cheaper for a family of four to fly to Iceland to see Father Christmas - £224 - than it is for one person to buy an any-time walk on return rail fare from London to Manchester - £321.

– Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union

After two decades of privatisation the British people pay some of the highest fares in Europe to travel on clapped-out, understaffed and overcrowded services while the private train companies are laughing all the way to the bank.

– Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT transport union
  1. National

Rail fares hike 'to improve services'

Following the announcement of an average 2.2% rise in rail fare from January 2, industry body the Rail Delivery Group said that money from train fares is fed back into rail services.

Over the next five years, Network Rail is spending on average £27 million a day on a better railway, alongside commitments made by train companies to improve services. That will mean more seats, better stations and improved journeys.

For every £1 spent on fares, 97p goes on track, train, staff and other costs while 3p goes in profits earned by train companies for running services on Europe's fastest growing railway.

The industry is continuing to work together to get more for every pound we invest to enable government to make fares decisions which work best for passengers.

– Rail Delivery Group director general Michael Roberts
  1. National

More rail passengers pushed to £5,000-a-year fares

More rail passengers will pay more than £5,000 a year for their season tickets from January 2.

Rail fares will rise by an average 2.2% in January Credit: PA

Announcing an average 2.2% rise on rail fares in 2015, industry body the Rail Delivery Group said the rise is the lowest average rise for five years.

However, many season ticket holders will find their average rise will be greater than their annual pay rise.

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Regulated rail fares set to rise in the New Year

Commuters will be paying more for their rail tickets from 2nd January 2015 Credit: ITV Meridian

More rail travellers will be pushed in to the £5,000-a-year season ticket price bracket following today's announcement of train fair rises that will take effect from January 2nd.

The rise for regulated fares, which includes season tickets, will be up to 2.5%, which means those commuting from Canterbury East to London, for example, will see their season tickets rising from the January 2014 price of £4,960 to a point beyond £5,000. Folkestone Central to London season tickets which were £4,984 in January 2014 will also pass the £5,000 mark.

Other travellers will have to join the ranks of those already paying £4,000 a year for their annual commute. The season ticket from West Malling in Kent to London, for example, rises from the January 2014 figure of £3,996 to a point beyond £4,000 .

Those commuting to London from Woking in Surrey will see their January 2014 season ticket price of £2,980 rising past the £3,000 mark. Although the January 2015 rise for regulated fares has been limited to no more than 2.5%, unregulated fares, such as off-peak leisure tickets, can go up by as much as the train companies like.

However, announcing the new fares today, the rail industry body the Rail Delivery Group said the average rise for all fares to take effect from January 2 would be 2.2%, which is the lowest average rise for five years.

However, many season ticket holders will find their average rise will be greater than their annual pay rise.

Southeastern trains to carry on running for three and a half years

The Government announced today that Southeastern will continue to run trains in Kent and East Sussex. Some travellers have expressed surprise at the decision - and even the Rail Minister herself who made the announcement, admitted the company had failed its customers too often in the past.

But that IS the past the company insisted. And today Southeastern promised big improvements, with more services, more high speed trains, and better stations.

Andrea Thomas reports. She spoke to Rail Minister Claire Perry, Hastings & Rye MP Amber Rudd, and Ashford MP Damian Green.

Fare increases can't rectify neglect, say Rail Experts

Transport experts have revealed that the decades of neglect on the railway cannot be rectified by short term Government investments.

Ministers recently announced a billion pound investment into infrastructure projects across the country, including Crossrail and HS2.

In a new book, Professors Jon Shaw and Ian Docherty have said these measures do not address the fact that the UK is still behind Europe in terms of its rail system.

They say investment will need to be sustained if UK passengers are to experience the same levels of comfort enjoyed by their continental counterparts.

It’s true we’re seeing impressive levels of investment in the railways at the moment – more than I can ever remember, actually – but there was no real alternative given how little we’ve spent in the last decades. At least this year passengers see some relief as regulated fares will rise only in line with inflation, but we’re still getting appalling value for money. Let’s not let this piece of good news deflect from the fact that further increased investment will be needed to ensure our rail network is fit for purpose in the future.”

– Jon Shaw, Professor of Transport Geography at Plymouth University
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