Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

High-peak rail fares may cost more

New Government plans include proposals to charge rail passengers more at peak times

Rail passengers could fork out even more for "high-peak" fares at the heart of the rush-hour under new Government proposals.

While some travellers could be rewarded for avoiding the peak times, others could pay more in order to "smooth demand" at the busiest times

But the "high-peak" fare would have to be considered "very carefully", according to the wording of a newly published rail consultation paper on fares and ticketing.

The consultation also suggested possible changes that rail customer watchdog Passenger Focus said could lead to travellers not being able to buy turn-up-and-go tickets.

The consultation was part of a rail command paper on rail reform published by Transport Secretary Justine Greening in response to a Whitehall-commissioned rail report on cost-cutting by Sir Roy McNulty.

"Let's try to tempt passengers away from peak-time travel, rather than penalise them for doing so," said Passenger Focus chief executive Anthony Smith.

Ms Greening outlined billions of pounds worth of savings that would be made over the next few years so that above-inflation fare rises for season ticket holders would be ended.

Ms Greening said: "Inefficiency and waste in the railways is costing hard-pressed farepayers and taxpayers £3.5 billion-a-year and I will no longer allow them to be lumbered with this unnecessary burden."

Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle MP said Ms Greening has failed to stand up for passengers.

The CBI said the Government had set out "much-needed clarity and direction for the future of our railways", but the TUC expressed concern at the possible fare rises and possible cuts to ticketing and station staff.

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