Train fare rises criticised by Portsmouth passengers

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CONCERNS have been raised by rail passengers who face higher fares from January.

Average season tickets will increase by 3.5 per cent following the announcement of the July inflation figures.

Fratton railway station

Fratton railway station

As a result, people commuting to London Waterloo from Portsmouth could pay nearly £2 extra a day, or over £700 a year.

Passengers at Cosham train station had mixed views on the announcement.

Peter Younger, 36, from Cosham, said: ‘It’s quite pricey already. It’s easy enough to hop in the car.

‘I even go on the bike now there’s plenty of cycle routes.’

This year, the government capped fare rises to keep them in line with inflation.

But it is not known whether the cap will stay in place.

Peter added: ‘I don’t believe anything the government says now.

‘They say things like stopping rises but they can’t decide what’s going to happen in four year’s time.’

Tiffany Williams, 18, from Hilsea, said: ‘It’s frustrating. It’s easier but I won’t use trains if it goes up again because it’s getting ridiculous.’

David Sidebottom, director of Passenger Focus, a group that campaigns for train-users, said: ‘Passengers in Portsmouth will be concerned about the news.

‘If this follows some previous years, this could mean, on average, that fares will increase by 3.5 per cent next January.

‘We know from our own research that value for money is a key priority for rail passengers.

‘Our most recent National Rail Passenger Survey put passenger satisfaction on value for money among commuters on South West Trains services as low as 26 per cent.

‘This level of fare increase puts more pressure on the railways to ensure passengers get an excellent service for the money they are paying.

‘We hope the government will step in again as it did last year, to ensure that train fares in England do not rise above the rate of inflation announced today.’

South West Trains said it would not be able to confirm individual fare changes until the end of the year.

Michael Roberts, director general of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the UK’s train operators, said: ‘Money from fares pays for more trains, better stations and faster services on what is already Europe’s fastest growing, safest and most improved railway. Over the next five years, £38bn will be invested in improving the network.’