Wiltshire commuters braced for rail fare hike
Commuter are preparing for another huge price hike on rail fares next year when average prices will rise by around 4.1 per cent to match inflation.
Train passengers will be hit by a sharp rise in regulated fares such as season tickets from next January even though retail price index inflation slowed from 3.3 per cent to 3.1 per cent in July.
The problem is that fares are set one per cent above last month’s RPI. The price rise in January means the cost of train travel will be 40 per cent higher than just six years earlier.
According to prices found on Skyscanner.net it is already cheaper for commuters to fly return with Ryanair to Warsaw, Poland, at £40 from Bristol, than it is to travel by train to London Paddington on an off-peak return at £42.50.
Ian Cunningham, from Westbury Train Watch, said: “It’s very unfortunate as we are not a rich area and the rise will hit people hard. They say the money is being used to improve the infrastructure, but we haven’t seen any improvements.
“Why should we have to pay more money for train fares when the service stays the same? We didn’t get electrification of the line, so it seems wrong we should have to pay more for the service as it is.
“These fare price rises are not going to help Westbury. It doesn’t help bring people to the town and we need everything we can to attract people and businesses to the area.”
Currently, a monthly season ticket from Westbury Train Station to London Paddington costs £740.40 if travelling via Newbury or £625.80 for trains travelling via Warminster.
Westbury rail campaigners did receive some good news recently, when transport co-operative Go-op announced steady progress towards agreeing track access with Network Rail for its flagship Mainline Rail project, which runs from Westbury to Birmingham Moor Street.
With the support of Network Rail, Go-op’s Mainline Rail project is expected to commence in 2015.
Cllr Cunningham added: “It would be a great benefit to Westbury. Any service that joins up the west and north Wiltshire towns is good news, while travel through and beyond Swindon would be excellent.”
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