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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 June 2007, 18:15 GMT 19:15 UK
Rail passengers want lower fares
Crowded train
Standing room only is an everyday experience for many commuters
Many passengers think that rail fares are too high according to a new survey.

Passenger Focus revealed that 43% of Silverlink passengers on the London to Northampton line through Milton Keynes were dissatisfied with fare costs.

Also, 32% of those on Midland Mainline routes through Northants and Herts as well as 28% on GNER services from Peterborough to London are unhappy.

Operators claim high fares are needed for franchise fees and access charges to Network Rail for using the track.

Passenger Focus is an independent rail consumer watchdog that carries out regular surveys on services and operators.

In an item on transport, BBC Look East has investigated why rail travel seems to be so expensive when its popularity is as high as its hey-days of the 1950s.

"Train fares are extraordinarily high in Britain compared to Europe," said Julia Thomas, from Transport 2000.

"In Europe even the train tickets you buy the day before or on the day of travel are much cheaper."

'Value for money'

The rail operators said they have worked hard to make services more punctual, they have invested in new rolling stock and safety has been improved.

However they are tied to the high costs of franchises and Network Rail needs revenue from passengers to fund a huge repair and upgrade programme.

Journalist Murray Brown who has been covering railway affairs for more than 30 years claims rail travel is "still outstanding value for money".

"People forget that the real cost of motoring is more than a litre of petrol. It's actually 40p a mile. Now consider that against the cost of a rail ticket.

"We have a different ethos to railways in this country than in Europe," said Mr Brown.

"Our railways are considered a business designed to cut out loss and make money.

"If you go across the channel they don't mind subsidising trains because they see the railways as an integral part of the country's fabric that deserves to be supported."

Why rail travel is considered expensive and how the cost can be reduced

Crowded out
25 Jan 07 |  Magazine
More trains to cure overcrowding
09 May 07 |  England

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