All aboard for a hike in fares

Northern Rail'Train
Northern Rail'Train
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TICKETS for rail passengers are set to rise as the country enters another recession.

Despite the rail industry across the Fylde coast performing well, the money made from commuters and holidaymakers coming in to Blackpool will be passed on to the Treasury.

Passengers are facing the inflation busting fares – set by the Department of Transport – at the beginning of next year, unless the economy grows.

Train tickets are reviewed every January and last time went up by 6.5 per cent, and with a double-dip recession confirmed, those who travel regularly face a bleak future.

Steve Pye, Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Branch Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “I’m completely outraged that any rises in any ticket sales for railways are being considered.

“It would be outrageous to consider the prices going up, bearing in mind more people use the railways in this country and because the prices are already expensive.”

A single ticket from Blackpool to London when bought on the day is currently £153.

Mr Pye says that if the costs were to rise then more businesses on the Fylde coast would be affected.

He added: “People use the railway because they can’t drive to London so raising rail fares is not the answer.

“We need to look at something which will re-stimulate the economy.”

Paul Nettleton, chairman of Fylde coast Rail Users, labelled the plans “illogical”.

He added: “Any price hike is unwelcome but I suppose the one saving grace for rail customers who have the option of going by rail or by car is the high cost of fuel.

“The industry is doing exceedingly well, this is a kick in the teeth and quite unfair.”

A spokesman for Northern Rail, one of the main operators in Blackpool, said: “Money raised through fares helps to pay for more trains and improvements to stations.

“This includes projects such as the introduction of 60 additional carriages to help alleviate overcrowding on peak services in December.

“However, we know these are difficult financial times, which is why we will continue to work with the Government to drive down the cost of running the railway.”