Increase in train prices ‘a kick in the teeth’ for St Albans commuters

PUBLISHED: 06:59 09 January 2020

St Albans commuters are faced with a 2.7 per cent hike in train fares. Picture: Peter Alvey

St Albans commuters are faced with a 2.7 per cent hike in train fares. Picture: Peter Alvey

Peter Alvey Photographer

Commuters from St Albans 
and Harpenden have responded to the 2.7 per cent hike in rail prices at the start of the year.

Emily Ketchin of Harpenden Thameslink Commuters Group has campaigned for better train services. Picture: Penny BirdEmily Ketchin of Harpenden Thameslink Commuters Group has campaigned for better train services. Picture: Penny Bird

The rise in prices means that the cost of the average season ticket into London has gone up by as much as £100, although the increase is lower than the 3.1 per cent price hike at the start of 2019.

St Albans MP Daisy Cooper, who set up St Albans Commuter and Passenger Action Group, said: "Increase in train fares has become an annual kick in the teeth for commuters who pay through the nose for a heavily overcrowded and often unreliable service, but it's especially sour this year as Germany announced a massive decrease in fares to encourage public transport use.

"I've long argued that the government should freeze fares while they modernise the ticketing system and fix the broken franchise system."

Rail fares are regulated by the Rail Delivery Group, which says this is the third year in a row which has seen average fares held below the benchmark rate of inflation.

St Albans MP Daisy Cooper has said the hike in train prices is a 'kick in the teeth' for commuters. Picture: SuppliedSt Albans MP Daisy Cooper has said the hike in train prices is a 'kick in the teeth' for commuters. Picture: Supplied

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Last month, Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami also argued that rail fares were rising at the expected rate, saying: "My strong view is that our fare prices should not increase in real terms. They have not. They have been held at inflation. This is the third year in a row that average fares nationally have been held below the inflation measure, on which rises are based."

Harpenden Thameslink Commuters' Group was founded in response to timetable changes in May 2018, which led to disruption across Govia Thameslink services - particularly affecting Harpenden.

Founder Emily Ketchin said: "Harpenden has a lost a third of its key services and, despite clear evidence that actual passenger numbers at Harpenden fully justify the trains to be reintroduced, Thameslink has failed to do so.

Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami has argued that train prices have not gone up in real terms. Picture: SuppliedHitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami has argued that train prices have not gone up in real terms. Picture: Supplied

"Yet at the same time train fares have again gone up. That is unacceptable and an insult to commuters who have no other viable option to get to work.

"Our campaign will continue to focus on the reintroduction of trains that should never have been removed."

According to the Rail Delivery Group, passengers across the UK will benefit from 1,000 extra train services.

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