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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 September, 2004, 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
End of line for cheap day fares
Central train
Too many people were using the cheap day return tickets.
A rail operator is withdrawing a range of cheap tickets because too many people were using them.

Central Trains is ending its cheap day returns on journeys of more than 50 miles.

It found they were too popular and led to crowded trains. New fares start on 26 September on some of its services across the Midlands.

The rail passengers' watchdog group for the region criticised the change and said it would make representations.

Low prices were leading to a very high demand for some tickets, which has resulted in a situation where passengers could not get a seat on our trains
Dave Watkin, Central Trains

There will be a new range of tickets to replace the cheap day returns on routes of more than 50 miles.

Where the cheap day tickets do remain on shorter journeys, there will be inflation-busting increases.

Nine long-distance fares will be pulled altogether, and another five face average increases of 25%, with the company wanting to bring them in line with its average fares.

Central Trains runs services across the Midlands, away from the fast routes to London.

Dave Watkin, sales and marketing director for Central Trains, said there were some anomalies in fares which would be ironed out with the new prices.

FARE CHANGES FROM 26 SEPTEMBER
Burton-on-Trent to Birmingham, from 5.90 to 6.60
Derby to Birmingham, from 6.40 to 9
Droitwich Spa to Birmingham, from 5.20 to 5.70
Hereford to Birmingham, from 8.60 to 11.40
Lichfield City to Birmingham, from 3.60 to 3.80
Lincoln to Nottingham, from 6.30 to 7.50
Shrewsbury to Birmingham, from 6.30 to 9.50
Stratford to Birmingham, from 4 to 5.50

He said: "These go back a long way and as a result it meant that our passengers were paying vastly different prices for journeys of the same type and distance.

"In turn, low prices were also leading to a very high demand for some tickets, which has resulted in a situation where passengers could not get a seat on our trains.

"These increases are about working towards a level playing field where all of our cheap day tickets are based on the same system of pricing and availability.

"We understand that the passengers affected by these increases will be concerned.

"But we are introducing a limited number of changes now and will be reviewing the impact of these changes thoroughly."

Phil Davis, chairman of the Rail Passengers Committee for the Midlands (RPC), said: "It is not fair on the passengers to pay more money when services are not as good as they should be in the Midlands.

"Central Trains is one of the poorest performers.

"We will be making representations about this.

"We do not have the powers to set fares ourselves, but we are here to speak up for the passengers."

Fares were changed on the Lincoln to Grimsby and Birmingham to Leicester routes in May.

And following this month's changes there will be a final review in January 2005.




SEE ALSO:
"Slow" trains between cities cut
08 Sep 04  |  West Midlands
Rail depot deal creates 100 jobs
24 Aug 04  |  Northamptonshire
Rail fare rise criticised
02 Jul 04  |  Northern Ireland


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