BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: UK  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
EDITIONS
 Thursday, 19 December, 2002, 18:41 GMT
'Nearly cheaper to fly'
Paddington Station, London
The majority of services will be increasing fares
News that train fares are set to rise in the New Year - some to a level more than double the rate of inflation - brought a mixed reaction from train users at Paddington Station in London on Thursday.

The cost of rail travel will increase from 5 January, with track problems among the reasons given for the price hike.

For some travellers using services out of London's Paddington station, the price rise was an unpalatable prospect after putting up with "unacceptable" conditions on the trains.

Laura Sheppard, student
'Only able to go home once a year'
For others it was a necessary evil if the services are to be improved and maintained.

George Edward, who makes a regular journey into London from his home in Swansea, south Wales, said the service does not warrant the hike in fares.

"The last five times I have travelled, there has been no occasion when the train is less than half an hour late," he said.

"I find the trains both expensive and unreliable. The only way to get a good price is to look at every deal.

"I don't think it's improving either; in fact I think the service has reduced in the past year."

The average increase in rail fares is 2.5%, although some services - notably Connex South Eastern - will put up prices by 7%.

Law student Laura Sheppard said the cost is already high enough.

'Delays'

"I can only afford to go home once a year," said the London School of Economics undergraduate, who hails from Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

The 19-year-old said it costs up to 60 to pay a return visit home, even using her young person's rail card.

"It's nearly cheaper to fly and that's ridiculous," she said.

"You expect a good service when you are paying that much but the last time I went home it took me seven hours.

Paula Entwisle and her son David
Rail use is 'expensive', says mother Paula Entwisle

"A train had broken down and the rail company had to put me in a taxi from York for the last part of the journey," she said.

The only way she could accept higher fares is if the service improved "drastically", she added.

Salesman Mark Jones from south Wales said rail services were already "grossly overpriced".

'Valid'

"If I travel into London before nine o'clock I'd pay double the off-peak price.

"It seems just because you wear a suit you have to pay twice as much," said Mr Jones, who instead drives to Reading to catch the train in to London from there

But businessman Alan Piper said he thought the increases were necessary.

I don't drive so I have to take the train, but even with a discount it is still expensive

Paula Entwisle

"I think they have to be put up to improve the infrastructure and to get new rolling stock," he said.

A surveyor, Mr Piper uses trains for journeys all over the country, including Manchester, Exeter, Birmingham and Bath.

"Although I don't welcome the increases, I think they are valid," said Mr Piper, whose journeys by rail are "pretty good".

Mother Paula Entwisle said she believes the fares are high enough already.

Alan Piper, surveyor
Alan Piper: 'Improving infrastructure and stock costs money'

The 31-year-old and her son David travel regularly to Langley, Berkshire.

"I don't drive so I have to take the train, but even with a discount it is still expensive.

But for Army officer Edward Turvill, putting up fares is understandable.

"I'm prepared to pay extra if it will help make the rail service reliable and safer - it's worth a few extra quid," he said.


Key stories

Background

Safety crisis

IN DEPTH COVERAGE

TALKING POINT

FORUM
See also:

19 Dec 02 | Business
19 Dec 02 | UK
18 Dec 02 | England
18 Dec 02 | England
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes