[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 May 2007, 07:23 GMT 08:23 UK
Price hike angers train watchdog
Train operated by South West Trains
SWT said the prices would bring it into line with other operators
A rail passenger watchdog has called on a train company to explain why it is raising some off-peak fares by as much as 20% later this month.

The increases, to be brought in on 20 May by South West Trains (SWT), were unacceptable, Passenger Focus said.

It added that it wanted SWT passengers to give their views on the rises.

An SWT spokeswoman said the new prices would bring the company into line with other operators and allow it to "better match demand and pricing".

Families making day trips to London will be hit hard by these changes
Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus

Examples of the increases, which were first announced in March, include a cheap day return from Alton, in Hampshire, to London rising from 15.80 to 19 - a 20.25% increase.

A Bournemouth to London cheap day return will go up from 36.40 to 43.70 - a 20.05% rise.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Passenger Focus, said: "These increases are unacceptable and come only a matter of months after their last price rises.

"The affordable, turn-up-and-go railway has been further eroded and SWT is exploiting a monopoly market.

"Families making day trips to London will be hit hard by these changes. We want SWT passengers to tell us what they think of the fare increases and how they will be affected."

An SWT spokeswoman said: "This pricing structure will bring us into line with a number of other train companies and allow us to better match demand and pricing.

"People who decide to travel outside of the peak can still make really good savings by travelling a little later or by buying one of a range of off-peak value tickets, megatrain.com deals and by using discount Railcards."


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The rail watchdog wants an explanation



SEE ALSO
Rail disruption hits after Easter
10 Apr 07 |  Hampshire
Passengers face major rail delays
05 Apr 07 |  Hampshire
Train fares 'causing confusion'
12 Apr 06 |  Business
Cheaper rail fares 'hard to find'
30 Nov 05 |  Business

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



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific