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'Decade of misery’ ahead as train fares rise by 2.7 per cent

By David Banner | Transport | Published:

Rail passengers in the West Midlands face “another decade of misery” as fares are hiked by an average of 2.7 per cent, a campaign group has claimed.

Rail fares are rising from today for West Midlands passengers

Some long-distance commuters in the region today saw the annual cost of getting to work increase by more than £100 despite fewer than two-thirds of trains being on time last year.

Fewer than half of passengers are satisfied with the value for money of train tickets, according to the latest survey by watchdog Transport Focus.

Today’s price rise saw three figure increases for some season ticket holders in the West Midlands.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

An annual ticket from Birmingham to Gloucester, for example, has risen by £132 to £4,356.

The prices for day trips are also rising under the changes, although season ticket holders with West Midlands Trains will see fares frozen.

Other fares will still rise.

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Beleaguered West Midlands Trains bosses announced the freeze to compensate passengers after months of train delays and cancellations.

West Midlands Trains, which operates West Midlands Railway services, faced mounting criticism, including from West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, over its poor performance.

Mr Street said the operator should be stripped of its rail franchise if its "woeful" performance does not improve by the end of January.

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Bruce Williamson, of pressure group Railfuture, claimed fares are “outstripping people’s incomes”.

He said: “Welcome to another decade of misery for rail passengers. How on earth is the Government going to meet its climate commitments by pricing people off environmentally-friendly trains and on to our polluted and congested roads?”

Data shows only 65 per cent of trains arrived at their scheduled station stops within one minute of the timetable in the 12 months to December 7.

Strike action, meanwhile, has affected West Midlands Trains services in recent months and South Western Railway, Northern and TransPennine Express have also been hit by industrial disputes.

Transport Focus director David Sidebottom urged passengers to “offset the cost of the fare rises” by claiming compensation for every eligible delay.

The increase in around 45 per cent of fares, including season tickets, is regulated by the government and is predominantly capped at July’s RPI inflation figure, which was 2.8 per cent.

Last month Avanti took over the West Coast rail franchise from Virgin Trains.

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