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Any increases should be kept to a minimum, say commuters
A RAIL group has called on fare rises to be kept to a minimum in Worcestershire after the announcement prices could rise by up to four per cent.
Last week, commuters were told they face the possibility of the above-inflation rise in fares come January as a result of a government policy used by ministers to pay for investment in the national rail network.
The increase could see some passengers using train operators including London Midland and First Great Western, which both run services in Worcestershire, facing an increase in season ticket costs of more than £100. The changes would only apply to regulated fares, such as season tickets and ‘anytime singles’ around major cities.
But Derek Potter, vice-chairman of the Cotswold Line Promotion Group which represents users of stations including Pershore, Worcester and Malvern stations, as well as Hereford, urged commuters to search for bargain tickets. “It is appropriate that revenue should come from passengers more than tax payers in general.
“The fare structure is erratic but there can be some real bargains to be had.
“It will be interesting to see how increases are applied to journeys on the Cotswold Line, but we probably won’t know that for a while yet.”
He said the Worcester to Birmingham line is one of the busiest in the area.
And he added that he hoped any fare rises applied to First Great Western tickets will be reduced in the Worcestershire area compared with the company’s busier lines near London.
The four per cent increase is calculated by inflation, which has dipped slightly to 3.1 per cent, but regulated fares are set to one per cent above this figure.
Train companies are allowed to put fares up by five per cent above the average rise – which in this case would be nine per cent – but changes must be balanced by others that drop.
A spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies said that some passengers would see ticket prices remaining the same or even decreasing.
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