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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 November 2006, 16:31 GMT
Train passengers face fare rise
Rail tickets
Passengers will pay an extra 4.3% on most regulated tickets
Passengers face above-inflation price hikes for rail tickets from January, train companies have announced.

Unregulated fares, which companies are able to set themselves and cover tickets such as cheap day returns, will increase by between 3% and 7%.

The Association of Train Operating Companies said the money was needed to pay for ongoing service improvements.

Passenger groups have criticised the price increases and said rail users are already paying high fares.

Regulated fares, which include season tickets and saver tickets, are determined by the Department for Transport and account for 40% of tickets sold.

Most train companies will raise fares by 4.3% - 1% above inflation - when the new prices are introduced.

Merseyrail is to increase its regulated fares by 3.2%, while the Southeastern trains service between Kent and London will go up by 6.3% under the terms of its new franchise.

See the full list of train company fare rises

Island Line prices will go up by 5.3% while there will be no increase for Hull Trains and Heathrow Express passengers.

Unregulated fares, which account for 60% of tickets sold, will go up by varying amounts depending on train operator, with an average rise of 4.7%.

There are also big increases planned for the two dedicated airport services, the Gatwick Express and Heathrow Express, which will both see rises of 7.3%.

Passenger Focus, the independent rail consumer watchdog, said the new fares would hit those who were unable to book tickets in advance.

'Off-putting prices'

Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus chief executive, said: "Inflation-busting price hikes on top of already high fares will make for an unhappy passenger New Year.

"If you now want to travel longer-distance in the peak and don't know exactly when you are coming back you will pay very, very dearly.

"If passengers want flexibility or have no choice about when to travel they now face off-putting prices.

'Improvements'

Brian Cooke, chairman of passenger group London Travel Watch, said: "While we accept fares have to rise sometimes, any price rise above inflation is regrettable and will seem a lot to passengers in and around London who are increasingly faced with crowded platforms and trains."

Shadow transport secretary Chris Grayling said: "This is very unwelcome news for passengers and will only underline the fact that things are really not right on our railways."

Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Alistair Carmichael said: "Passengers will be exasperated by these fare increases, whilst levels of overcrowding on their trains continue to get worse."

Atoc director general George Muir said: "While no-one likes to pay more for their travel, we need the revenue to pay for the ongoing improvements to the railways that passengers expect - and overall satisfaction levels are now at an all time high of 80%.

"Train operators will continue to raise their game, delivering further improvements to the railway and enhancing the travel experience of passengers."

RAIL FARE RISES FOR 2007
Train company Average rise % (regulated fares) Average rise % (unregulated fares)
Arriva Trains Wales 4.3 5.5
c2c 4.3 4.3
Central Trains 4.3 5.7
Chiltern Railways 4.3 4.5
First Capital Connect 4.3 3.5
First Great Western 4.3 4.8
First ScotRail 4.3 4.3
(Strathclyde) 0 -
First TransPennine Express 4.3 4.6
Gatwick Express 4.3 7.3
Great North Eastern Railway (GNER) 4.3 5.5
Heathrow Express N/A 7.3
Hull Trains N/A 3.5
Island Line 5.3 N/A
Merseyrail 3.2 3.2
Midland Mainline 4.3 5.9
Northern Rail 4.3 4.3
(WYPTE area) 6.3 -
'one' 4.3 5.0
Silverlink 4.3 4.3
Southeastern 6.3 4.3
Southern 4.3 4.3
South West Trains 4.3 5.3
Virgin CrossCountry 4.3 4.3
Virgin West Coast 4.3 6.6
Source: Atoc

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VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Passengers respond to the fare rise



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