Page last updated at 22:01 GMT, Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Plan to keep fares rising denied

Trains at Clapham Junction
British train fares are the highest in Europe

The government has rejected a request from train companies to make sure fares keep rising, the BBC has learned.

Half of Britain's range of train fares is regulated and those are allowed to rise by 1% above the rate of inflation.

But on that basis, if there is deflation of more than 1%, it would mean that those fares have to be cut.

Transport Minister Lord Adonis is expected to announce that the formula will remain in that case, which could cost the train companies millions.

The BBC's transport correspondent Tom Symonds says that worried train companies have been asking the government to freeze fares for two years, but ministers have rejected their proposal.

He adds that there have been warnings that commuter train companies that are reliant on regulated fares could be heading for financial difficulties, especially as they lose passengers in the recession.

Government sources say they accept train companies could suffer, but they say they have to protect the interests of passengers, who are already paying the highest ticket prices in Europe.

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Glasgow Evening Times - Deflation would spark fall in some rail fares - 4 hrs ago
Guardian Unlimited No chance of a return to the dark days of the 30s? Don't kid yourself - 4 hrs ago
New Statesman''We know each other well'' - 8 hrs ago
Daily Star Green light for cut in rail fares - 17 hrs ago
Glasgow Herald Inflation fall may lead to season ticket train fare cut - 24 hrs ago
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