Criticism as rail travel looks to increase by 3.5%

Criticism as rail travel looks to increase by 3.5%

Criticism as rail travel looks to increase by 3.5%

First published in News Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Local government reporter

EAST Lancashire politicians and rail campaigners yesterday demanded better rolling stock and extra investment as train passengers were braced for fare increases of 3.5 to 4.5 per cent next year.

Hyndburn Labour MP Graham Jones and his Burnley Liberal Democrat counterpart Gordon Birtwistle said commuters should not pay more unless travelling conditions improved.

They were backed by Blackburn with Darwen transport boss Maureen Bateson and Alan Benson, secretary of the Save The East Lancashire Line Association.

Regulated rail fares are expected to rise by 3.5 per cent next year, July’s inflation figure of 2.5 per cent plus one per cent.

Regulated fares, including season tickets and off-peak inter-city returns, have increased more than inflation most years since 2004, but were capped at inflation in January.

Other fares could increase by 4.5 per cent.

The actual government announcement on rises is expected in November. The news came as the shortlist of bidders for the Northern Rail franchise, which runs East Lancashire train services, was revealed.

They are Abellio Northern Ltd (part of the current franchise consortium), Arriva Rail North Limited and Govia Northern Limited. The decision is expected in October next year to take effect from February 2016.

Mr Benson said: “If fares are going to rise that much, rolling stock needs to improve and there has to be proper investment in the East Lancashire line.”

Mr Birtwistle said: “Fares cannot keep going up on our rail lines while the service and stock are so poor.”

Coun Bateson said: “People cannot pay these prices while the trains are sub-standard.”

Mr Jones said: “Travellers here cannot afford such rises. We cannot put up with hand-me downs from the South any longer.”

A Northern Rail spokeswoman said: “We cannot calculate actual fare rises until the final announcement. If the government allowed us, we would use better rolling stock.”

Mr Mcloughlin’s spokeman said: “No decisions on fare rises for 2015 have yet been taken. We understand people’s concerns. That is why for 2014 we reduced average rises to inflation.”

In January an adult Anytime Day Return from Colne or Burnley to Preston rose from £10.50 to £10.80.

Comments (5)

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3:40pm Wed 20 Aug 14

Oldmanofthemountains says...

Well. this'll make a GREAT difference, won't it?
Well. this'll make a GREAT difference, won't it? Oldmanofthemountains
  • Score: 2

6:02pm Wed 20 Aug 14

AnthonyUK says...

Private hands mean higher prices poor standards and lacklustre service. Abellio/SercoNed who own Northern Rail are a bunch of wallies!
Private hands mean higher prices poor standards and lacklustre service. Abellio/SercoNed who own Northern Rail are a bunch of wallies! AnthonyUK
  • Score: 5

6:31pm Wed 20 Aug 14

HelmshoreMan2010 says...

While I agree the trains are shocking currently and no price increase is ever good I am amazed at the total over reaction of some people I know and from people on the internet.

The ticket price quoted is £10.30 currently from Colne to Preston, which is £2687 per year. Anybody using the train regular enough would have a season ticket which is £1728 from Colne to Preston. That is set to increase to £1789 which split over 52 weeks is £1.17 per week. Yeah it's not good news but it's hardly worth the level of anger displayed by some people.

The season ticket at £35 per week (new price) doesn't sound that bad when you work out by road Colne to Preston is 62 miles round trip per day or 310 miles per 5 day working week.
While I agree the trains are shocking currently and no price increase is ever good I am amazed at the total over reaction of some people I know and from people on the internet. The ticket price quoted is £10.30 currently from Colne to Preston, which is £2687 per year. Anybody using the train regular enough would have a season ticket which is £1728 from Colne to Preston. That is set to increase to £1789 which split over 52 weeks is £1.17 per week. Yeah it's not good news but it's hardly worth the level of anger displayed by some people. The season ticket at £35 per week (new price) doesn't sound that bad when you work out by road Colne to Preston is 62 miles round trip per day or 310 miles per 5 day working week. HelmshoreMan2010
  • Score: 3

9:17am Thu 21 Aug 14

campbell69s says...

I think the anger comes not from the price increase itself, but at the decision to increase prices whilst the service continues to be terrible.
I think the anger comes not from the price increase itself, but at the decision to increase prices whilst the service continues to be terrible. campbell69s
  • Score: 7

3:42pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Corsetmaker says...

After visiting London recently and using the rail services to get there and back I did notice a massive difference. I'd gotten used to the noisy rickety trains that did look a bit past it, but It didnt bother me hugely, until i saw the contrast between out services and those in London.

Aside from the drastic reduction in noise through the electrification of their lines, as opposed to Lancs still on diesel, the state of the trains themselves was noticeable, Lancs trains seem very dirty, a bit smelly, bits of rubbish on the floors/seats - in contrast the trains travelling to and in/around London were much better maintained, with cleaning crews getting on and off during stops, train staff walking the carriages with bags for commuters to put rubbish in. Travelling back from London was great UNTIL we hit Manchester - after that it was utter chaos, with people being yelled at by train staff to "Move up!! MOOOOOVE!!!" trying to shoehorn more people into the carriages, which was already at standing room only, it was almost at Tokyo tube standard with the real and present dangers of numerous 'frottaging' incidents, with men constantly checking that they weren't inadvertently having their crotches thrust upon unsuspecting seated and standing female passengers - I almost missed my stop because it was so jam packed I couldn't GET OFF the train and had to shout across to the train attendant to keep the doors open till I could get off, one guy stared accusingly at me and said "Where do you THINK you are going?!" and only moved when I said I wanted to get off!!
The sheer reluctance to not spend extra on more carriages may be saving Northern Rail money - but the sheer scale of what I had to put up with (and according to others on the train that day, is a daily occurrence) must surely work against them and DETER people from using the services unless its absolutely necessary and thus lose profits? The golden rule to customer service "Give the customer a good experience and they will keep coming back - give them a bad one, and they'll avoid you like the plague."
After visiting London recently and using the rail services to get there and back I did notice a massive difference. I'd gotten used to the noisy rickety trains that did look a bit past it, but It didnt bother me hugely, until i saw the contrast between out services and those in London. Aside from the drastic reduction in noise through the electrification of their lines, as opposed to Lancs still on diesel, the state of the trains themselves was noticeable, Lancs trains seem very dirty, a bit smelly, bits of rubbish on the floors/seats - in contrast the trains travelling to and in/around London were much better maintained, with cleaning crews getting on and off during stops, train staff walking the carriages with bags for commuters to put rubbish in. Travelling back from London was great UNTIL we hit Manchester - after that it was utter chaos, with people being yelled at by train staff to "Move up!! MOOOOOVE!!!" trying to shoehorn more people into the carriages, which was already at standing room only, it was almost at Tokyo tube standard with the real and present dangers of numerous 'frottaging' incidents, with men constantly checking that they weren't inadvertently having their crotches thrust upon unsuspecting seated and standing female passengers - I almost missed my stop because it was so jam packed I couldn't GET OFF the train and had to shout across to the train attendant to keep the doors open till I could get off, one guy stared accusingly at me and said "Where do you THINK you are going?!" and only moved when I said I wanted to get off!! The sheer reluctance to not spend extra on more carriages may be saving Northern Rail money - but the sheer scale of what I had to put up with (and according to others on the train that day, is a daily occurrence) must surely work against them and DETER people from using the services unless its absolutely necessary and thus lose profits? The golden rule to customer service "Give the customer a good experience and they will keep coming back - give them a bad one, and they'll avoid you like the plague." Corsetmaker
  • Score: 2

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