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Peak rail users facing a "super" increase in fares
11:15am Wednesday 14th March 2012 in Commuter News
Commuters could face “super peak” rail fares as the Government looks to reduce congestion on the Brighton to London mainline.
Under current plans commuters already face fare rises above inflation for the next two years.
But some could be hit with even bigger increases, while the cost of travel at quieter times could be cut, as the Government looks to “smooth” rail use at peak times.
Politicians in the county are divided over whether it would have the desired impact and increase traveller numbers or lead to increased financial pressure on existing passengers.
Sussex MEP Peter Skinner said: “We are once again seeing hard-pressed Brighton and Hove commuters being squeezed.
“The Government is in danger of turning the railways into a rich man’s toy. This long-awaited rail strategy is a wasted opportunity to address the structural issues left from the botched rail privatisation. "Passengers are having to pay more to plug the gap in the transport budget.”
But Hove MP Mike Weatherley said: “It is hard to argue against such sensible proposals.
“To go from extremely busy to deadly quiet in such a short period is not logical for so many reasons.
“As long as the proposals do not lead to any more costs for those with standard season tickets, I would be in support of them.”
The proposals unveiled by Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary, follow the publication of a report into the rail industry by Sir Roy McNulty. The report recommends “smoothing” commuter demand between the 7am-to-10am and 4pm-to-7pm windows which would allow more people to travel.
It states: “Season tickets were designed to meet the needs of commuters working 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
“For many that is no longer the reality, and the system must provide a more attractive offer for commuters travelling fewer than five days a week or outside peak hours – as well as encouraging other commuters to consider whether they might be able to change any of their travel patterns.”
For more details visit www.dft.gov.uk/consultations.